and now for something completely different…


Epiphany time. I’m angry, cross, irritated, let down, fed up to the back teeth with two of my relatives. This is an irrational reaction because neither of them have deliberately set out to annoy me. In fact if they could help it, they would have done anything to avoid upsetting me.

However one of them is elderly and the other is ill. I know that intellectually but emotionally I am raging that they have left me. Because they have left me. I am bereft.

First of all my mum. After my father’s death we spoke every day on the phone, exchanged notes and chose each other’s presents with care. Now Mum cannot hear well enough for a phone call, she presents (if she does it at all) the famiily with paperbacks she has read (and usually ones which the family have already read) and brooches which are broken (or which were given to her as a gift or which came free with thermal vests). She can’t see me unless I am almost in bed with her and she can’t hear well enough for a conversation. She also pretends she can hear and makes what she considers might be the right response.

So I have lost my confidante, my advisor, our shared delight in all things literary and our jokes.

My sister has Pick’s Disease and no longer talks or changes her facial expression. She can no longer walk unaided and it is hard to know if she recognises me or sees me or hears what I say. She lives in a home where it is impossible to visit her without the TV blaring (even in her own room). Because I don’t know how she feels I don’t like to turn off the TV in her room in case she really prefers watching it to me blethering on.

I have lost my second mother, my confidante, my supporter, my intermediary, my best friend.

As I write this I can feel my anger softening into sadness but I am still selfish enough to prioritise the effect upon me rather than the ghastliness that my relatives are enduring.

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2 thoughts on “and now for something completely different…

  1. Dear Alison,
    Sometimes you just have to get things off your chest!
    Well done for being brave enough to be honest, and thank you as it has helped me feel better about the last week of family crises.
    I know how it feels to have lost my mother, and my ‘other mother’, who filled the gap for the last 30 years, about 18 months ago. My biological mother has not been there for me since aged 14, and my other mother seems lost to depression the last 18 months. I’m still grieving for both…
    With love and hope,
    Kate

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