Monthly Archives: September 2018

Luck is relative

I am watching a programme on organ transplants. A suffering family is told that their beautiful son was brain dead in 20 minutes, and I find myself screaming enviously at them all as they grieve, “You are so fucking lucky!”

They don’t have to watch their love’s brain dying year by year month by month, while he no longer knows what is happening. My love struggles gamely on but the confusion is almost universal and the moments of joy are dampened by the dullness in his eyes.

Death is our part to play in life. Fair enough – but this is slow-drip torture.


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The music had already started when I got there after a couple of hard days’ work. He was sitting securely in the front, with no real expression in his face. No real recognition either. A bowl of ice cream was devoured in globs, and then I coaxed him up to dance. Never had to do that before.

Occasionally a big smile would cross his face and once when i did a twirl away he quickly grabbed my hand and gathered me into an embrace, saying, “Don’t leave me.”

The singer played “Can I have this dance for the rest of,” and embarrassment in the middle of the special care ward full of folks having a good time, I was suddenly brushing away tears.

They got chased away by a few fast dance tunes, and Happy Hour at the care home was over.

“Come with me,” I said. By now he was happy and agreed. “Where will we stay?” I suggested supper was coming soon and he thought that was good but on the way back to his ward he asked, “will we stay together tonight? where will we sleep?”

Somewhat later, a little unquiet, he held me and stammered, “Forget me.”

I don’t know if he meant: don’t forget me; or forget me. He sometimes thinks long and hard to deliver messages in the rare moments when the clouds clear a bit. But I hugged him and assured him I would never forget him, and, although there was confusion his eyes, it seemed to be good.

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Lucky man?

I get in on a rainy Saturday afternoon, after a stretch pruning last year’s raspberries, feeling pretty good.

I have new zelcrow closing shoes for him – he’s been wearing them for years and likes them, takes them on and off at will, not necessarily to the joy of the care staff.

To my surprise he was up and fairly … amiable. He had no idea what shoes or new shoes were, but sat down and let me make the switch, talking a mile a minute.

But in that strange way, not as out of it as he seems. At one point my hand collided with his, whereupon we had the full scale collapse, leaning back in the chair moaning, eyes closed but zero anguish on his face. I laughed and called him a great actor and he sat up immediately and said, “well, yes!”

Such a confusing state of mind.

I also brought his ipod and popped the headset on to play Robert Plant Band of Joy, one of our old favourites.

He said oh that is so beautiful, and started to dance. We played the whole CD and he was joyous.

Me I had to be very stern with myself not to get dragged into grief remembering all the times we listened and danced…Music mostly makes me cry now.

After awhile he leaned over and asked demandingly, “But Who are you?”

I started out with my name but it was ringing no bells, so I said, “I’m your wife.”

“Really? I never heard of any of that.”

I smiled my hardest. “Well here I am. Aren’t you a lucky man!”

And the smile crept into his eyes and he agreed.

Later he took the headphones off and pulled my hand to his ear to hear the music that way.

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