Saturday, 23 November 2019

Saturday 23rd November - Sticks and Stones
Circular diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week, from a Carolingian ms. (Clm 14456 fol. 71r) of St. Emmeram Abbey

Well, the last week has been an education.

On arrival at the Care/Nursing Home at the beginning of the week - was that really only on Monday? - my Godmother transformed from 'sweet little old lady' mode to - well, you fill in your own description.

Absolutely NOTHING, NO THING was right - from the quality of the light bulbs onwards.

Occasionally she forgot, and was caught having a good moment, but mostly the four days and five nights were a preview of purgatory, during which time no souls were purged and many a sin may have been committed - I do not exclude myself from this statement.

However, this morning, the minute she was in the car and we had set off down the drive, 'sweet little old lady mode' was instantly re-engaged, and by about halfway home was almost completely in place.

The thing is, when she was venting about the awfulness of the place, and snubbing everything and everyone, she was using words and tone of voice and facial expressions of violence to lash out.

Even minutes before departure, as Himslef was loading everything back into our car;

'I'll shut your door  now, as he'll be opening the front door and letting cold air in so I don't want you to get cold' sez I, still trying.

'Oh it doesn't matter, you do whatever, it doesn't matter anyway' was the stroppy and ungracious reply.

And it's no good saying 'Well I didn't mean it' when I point out that she is being hurtful in the way she speaks, and I am hurt.

Now, I haven't written all this just to make my Godmother out to be stroppy and unreasonable old bag. I fully understand that she is frightened of her illness, and her powerlessness, and her frailty, and all she has left to defend herself with is her voice.

This is really a lesson for when I am old and fragile and fearful; that hitting out at everyone with my tongue is more hurtful and damaging than one might think.

She's back in her own home now. Everything unpacked and put back. She hadn't had breakfast at the Care Home before we left, but I made her cereal and hot milk, and a cup of tea when we arrived, to get something hot inside her while the place was warming up.

'Funny thing, this tea, I haven't been able to drink tea for months, but they gave me some and I love it now'.

Later, when we had our sandwiches, I made her a sort of cheese and potato meal using the rejected mashed potato pots I had filled her fridge with, and some Primula cheese squirted over the top 'Luvverly - I can manage this, I didn't dare try it before.' She's scared to eat, in case she can't swallow and the food gets stuck, poor love. That could prove to be much more of a problem than anything else.

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We're back in our own home too. The heating is on, we've had a coffee and sat down for a bit and it's quiet here.

Sticks and stones. Bones. Words.

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