Tuesday, January 12, 2010

12th January
I phone my mother-in-law each day to check on how she is doing.
She is 84 and has a serious heart condition, and so I wonder each morning if today will be the day when she is simply not able to answer the phone.
My experience of loved ones dying has led me always to expect the worse: and I can feel my muscles tightening and the phone keeps on ringing.
this negative expectation has been made worse by the fact she really was very ill in November and December. She became horribly aware of the beating of her heart, tormented by it, really, and it was beating irregularly and sometimes stopping altogether.
This would happen day and night: sometimes when i was with her I would notice she was somehow absent, in an uncanny kind of way, and as if in suspension... and then it would thump back in again and she would be OK.
At night she would sometimes report waking up and feeling "as if I was away" and having to breathe deeply and deliberately until, thump, it came back again.
She now takes a total of twenty pills every day and must be a strong as an ox for not only does she survive them and their side effects but is also managing to get stronger.
She takes the intensest interest and delight in her surroundings and I think this must be her secret.
Today it was the thrush. She feeds the robin and the blackbirds and carries on the liveliest conversations with them: delighted today by the appearance of a thrush on a rowan tree outside her window.
The delight she takes is so infectious: and she becomes a delight to be with always.
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