Apart from the simple act that I was still here to register it and groan, the day did not start well. Pain woke me… another one of those vicious circles where, if I get a good night’s sleep, I have moved too little to ease the pain overnight and wake desperate for relief. The next few hours are spent trying to get comfortable and throwing all the pain meds possible at my body. It is unfortunate, but the alternative is even less attractive and would let me get even less work done.
There comes a point, most days, when you wonder if it is worth it. When you ask yourself whether just laying down and going to sleep for good would not be a better option. I can no longer walk properly unaided. Have just restricted vision in one eye, no energy and am unable to fend for myself. Physically, I’m ‘neither use nor ornament’ as we say in Yorkshire.
“There’s someone outside with a card,” said my Stuart, heading to open the door, later that afternoon. I heard a muffled conversation from my perch at the computer… and a few moments later was in possession of a beautiful basket of pastel-coloured plants, all in flower and a wonderful selection of luxuriously decadent ice-creams.
At the moment, as things degenerate a bit, eating has become problematic. The strangest things go down easily… the things you would think would be easy to swallow get stuck. The one thing you can say for sure is that I am definitely better hydrated than at any time in my life, as I have to have a water ‘chaser’ after almost every bite. Which takes all the flavour and pleasure out of eating…
But not, apparently, with luxury ice cream. Or Arran tablet. These I can eat… enjoy… relish… I may have to live on the stuff.
There was no name on the card, but there was a clue as it spoke of the Silent Eye… and half a name and location had come with the delivery… a friend of a friend of the donor, who lives in a village close by, and who had been willing to act as personal shopper and courier, bless her.
I tracked down the sender, knowing his penchant for making sure everyone is well supplied with the small, but all important, niceties of life. It was he who had invariably turned up for all to the workshops with strawberries, sweets and enough chocolate to feed a small army. Later, I found there are others involved… and although one of them I know, the rest for the moment, remain a mystery.
I want to hug them all… even if it is only with what is left of my voice over the phone.
Much of yesterday was spent thinking about funeral arrangements… my own. It ended with the virtual embrace of friends and in laughter. The morning began with a card… filled with individual messages from friends whose presence in my life and heart spans decades and worlds… but always leads back to love and magic. It takes so little to turn a day on its head, turning the perception upside down and giving it a new and more beautiful perspective.
The flowers, being rooted, will live longer than me. The ice-cream may make it through the day… but I am not promising anything. But the warmth of the gesture means everything. That friends, even in this time of restrictions and travel bans, find and make time and ways to ‘visit’… and in such a practical manner, means so much.
With so much of your life and perceived identity being nibbled away by the demands of cancer or any other long term illness, it is the things that affirm that you are still who you have always been that take on a deeper meaning, Easy too to lose sight of why we choose to remain and not give up the ghost before our time. It is for the friends and those we love who will share an old, half-forgotten joke… or who turn up with your favourite chocolate bar… or who pass the tissue before it is needed, knowing that it will be.
These are the things and the people that matter… they make life worth the living. No matter how much the physical world seems to shrink around you, as access to it is cut off by restrictions, health and mobility… the landscape of the heart is an infinitely wide place to run free and play with those we love.