Of sadness, shower-gel and intergalactic fire extinguishers

Here we are again…

(…Happy as can be / All good friends and / Jolly good company… as the song goes)

and it’s 2018. How did it get to be 2018 more or less without me noticing? Although I did notice a whole succession of firework displays on TV, starting with Australia – or maybe New Zealand – and wondered what all these successive fireworks-es must look like from outer space. Pretty impressive I imagine, though how a visiting Martian might interpret them. He might assume the planet was about to explode and train his all-powerful intergalactic fire-extinguishers upon us…

On my visit to the Home today I attempted to explain to Mum (goodness knows why) that it was the first day of 2018. Today I was the bringer of shower-gel and deodorant, which the carers inform me (practically every time!) that she has run out of, even though she has a constantly-replenished account with them for everyday expenses, which one might have thought would include shower-gel and deodorant. But they say the shops are not convenient for them to get to and so they ask the relatives.

I mentioned to a passing cleaner (again, goodness knows why – just for the pleasure of speaking to someone who could understand me, I suppose) that I had brought the shower-gel, and would have brought it sooner had I not been too ill over Christmas. She said she had noticed earlier this morning that I had brought it. But I had only just arrived, and the en suite bathroom shelves had been absolutely empty.  Seeing the look of bewilderment on my face, she must have realised her mistake. “Er, you’ve just brought them, haven’t you?” I nodded.

“I expect it was another room.”

What I reckon is, it’s a scam. They’re selling whatever they can inveigle relatives into bringing in that pretend shop of theirs on the first floor – it’s so that the dementia patients can feel that they have “gone outside” or “gone to the shops and bought something”. Or worse, at boot fairs on Sundays! God preserve us.

Mum didn’t understand about 2018. She didn’t understand why I was soaking wet either even though I pointed out of the window a number of times to indicate that torrential rain was, in fact, falling. She was quite talkative though, and pointed out things on The Simpsons to me. I think she likes that they are yellow and brightly-coloured. She said several times about the colours. She said she wanted a new calendar and I promised to bring one with me next time. So perhaps she does know it’s 2018 after all.

On the way out I had a chat with a lady about my age who had been with her Mum in the room opposite. She said her mother had been in this and other care homes for eleven years, and she had been visiting all this time. She disappeared into the deluge on foot, and I made a splashy run for the car.

I don’t usually write about sadness because I suspect I don’t often allow myself to feel it. Anger, yes. Exasperation, yes. Generalised Winter Gloom, yes. But there’s something about sadness, isn’t there? It seems to bring along with it a lot of things you don’t want to know, and you have to actually know them. Canadian Sister just phoned and something she said made me realise that English Sister and I really are estranged now, at least from her point of view. And I do feel sad, because I really don’t understand why and I suppose I always thought she would be there – we would be there – if not exactly thinking along the same lines or being much alike. You just assume, don’t you, that things will go on as before, and then one by one they all seem to have tiptoed out of the room…

Even the lady I was volunteering to chat to seems to have vanished. I got a phone call to say she had been taken into hospital over Christmas, but they couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me why, or which hospital. Nothing to be done but to send a Get Well Soon card to her home address and wait to hear, if at all.

And so I say to you, keep hold of your family. Put the work in to keeping in touch even though there doesn’t seem much point. Looking back, I wish I had spent more time trying to communicate with my family, or at least making the most of their presence while they were still around – and less time trying desperately to cling to people (hah, mostly men, to be honest) who were never going to be worth the effort and who should have been ‘excised’ (redacted?) – ruthlessly or otherwise. But there, I suppose that’s the point of growing older: you can reassess, put your past life into perspective and finally let yourself feel what you feel.

7 thoughts on “Of sadness, shower-gel and intergalactic fire extinguishers

  1. Amen. A hard read, something many of us readers could’ve written, surely. Good advice. Of course, though, it’s winter — a really bad one — and it’s just after a major holiday where absences are even more than felt and memories pale. Also, you’ve been battling illnesses, and hindsight is always 20/20, but my point is, it’s almost mandatory to be sad right now. Maybe the sadness is, in central reality, a pulling up of boots and a squaring of shoulders into this new year that only feels like an earth-cracking defeat. When worse seems to come to worst over here and I am successful in castigating myself as a waste of space, I think of that one someday when Jesus will come and say with brilliant eyes, “Ah, alone at last, are we?” ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Yes, many people do seem to be sad, or in some way struggling at the moment, but putting it into words helps.

      (I often catch myself thinking I’ve got nothing to write about because I’m too busy thinking some particular thing through, then realising the ‘thing’ is what I should have been writing about.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL, I hear that. It’s like I only form a tiny diamond when I’m commenting, but that seems alright, too. By the way, I was coming back in here to tell you that Lamott’s “Bird by Bird” is a free .pdf download all over the ‘net, and/or one can read it free online! Thank you so much for mentioning that book. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I think part of the aging process is that we finally recognize our feelings and realize that it’s perfectly okay to have them. You’ve already lost your mother in most ways, so I can imagine that losing a sister as well would make you quite sad. I think most of us, looking back, realize that all too often we’ve put effort into relationships that just weren’t right for us at the expense of the relationships that did deserve our time and attention. But at the time we did what felt right, and all we can do is move forward. Maybe reaching out to your sister would help, who knows?

    Liked by 1 person

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