The little one

Month: December 2016

The little one

The little one

The little one has mucus gathered at her nose this evening and she lays in my arms unpurring and still, onyx eyes open.   Her tiny animal heart  beats at a speed she surely cannot take for too long.   My fingers touch it, fluttering wildly in the cage of her ribs, beneath her front limbs  when I lift her up to feel the sun.  The skin of her ears is paper thin, red and veined, translucent and warm.   He, an old man in a crumpled suit, bones only recently filtered into the earth, bends to sing from his gut,  while

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A soul day

A soul day

I have had such a simple, lovely, relaxing day today, watching films with the family, cooking some delicious vegan food and drawing.  This is a portrait I did this afternoon of a civil war soldier (I have a bit of an obsession with history, and with sketching faces!)  It has been so nice to have the time to do creative things that make me feel good.  Sketching is definitely good for my soul, as is writing. I hope you are managing to get some soul time this season…  What makes you feel at peace, inspired and contented?

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Christmas presence

I just wanted to wish every single one of you a very happy Christmas.  As you know, this is a tough one for us, but we are doing our best to enjoy the season and bask in the warmth of family and friends.   Thank you so much for reading and commenting on Minimal Belle, and I look forward to hearing much more from you in the New Year! And remember, while we enjoy the gifts under the Christmas tree, the most precious gift you can give another person is your presence.  I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.  ♡

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A quick recommendation and a simple question

If you have not yet come across Byron Katie, I would suggest delving into her work–and then doing The Work.   The idea, in very basic terms, is that every situation and emotion is all dependent on our own perception.  It’s about working through those thoughts that eat away at us and getting to the truth of them.  And it’s not always easy.  Sometimes it comes back on us in ways we don’t expect!   But isn’t that what we want?  To be open, vulnerable, brave, honest and kind?   A question that stuck with me from The Work is

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A poem for us, about you

​Our wild sea is white in your absence though dogs leap and roll on the shingle, knowing nothing of our grief.   Of course, you are not really absent,  and the leaves, now withered and cracked, will grow again, emerald in the spring.   These songs we sing with tears in our throats will rise beyond this simple roof and be carried upon the clouds to your quiet, eternal heart. Lovers, daughters, friends and mothers shall never truly part.   Your kindness and grace, bestowed throughout the years, has given comfort and inspiration to us all.  Of all the words you

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Thoughts on living and dying

It is easy to forget, in the rain and the routine, the aches and pains of each day, what a tremendous privilege it is to be alive.   Proximity to death brings a kind of urgency about life that one can quickly lose in the humdrum of work, commuting and making dinner.  Having just witnessed the passing of my beloved grandmother, I am feeling a range of emotions from sadness to gratitude to emptiness.  But, within the grief, there is also an overwhelming urge to live.  To stop worrying, stop complaining, stop being fearful, stop clinging onto things not meant

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Only a few moments ago

​Only a few moments ago,  I slumped on the floor by your bed like a child and pressed my thumb into the fleshy nook of your elbow and felt the last waxy warmth between your ribs and your arm,  as though you were still able to hold me.   And I thought then about wandering upon the wet cobblestones in Galway after dark,  live music from gallery bars competing with the rushing of the sea and the stars  falling one by one like shivering birds shot out of the sky.   Sleep well now, my love, and thank you for

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15th December

Just a quick post to let you know that my beloved grandma passed away at 10:15am today.  After the rollercoaster of the past few days, the end was very peaceful and we were all by her side.   There is, of course, tremendous emptiness and sadness, but I am so grateful that both of my grandparents died, peaceful and warm, at home, surrounded by their family.  They deserved that.   Thank you so much for all of your kind words and thoughts over the past week or so.  They have helped a lot.

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Transcending the body

Transcending the body

When the vicar, Sarah, arrived yesterday to see my grandmother and to say a prayer for her, she walked into the room and said “Oh, it doesn’t look like Dora.”   Far from being an insensitive comment, it was tinged with tenderness and some surprise.  Of course, she would have always seen my grandma at church dressed smartly in a skirt and navy blue blazer with court shoes, beautiful white hair perfectly curled–always immaculate.  But her observation ran deeper than that, for me. There is something that, when it begins to fade, makes the person look less and less like

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A personal update: nearing the end

A personal update: nearing the end

My grandma is in the very last stages of her life.  It is hard to say, of course, but I can’t see that she will continue for more than a day or two.  It could be hours.  She is sedated now and unresponsive to touch.  This is a blessing in some ways, because her breathing is accompanied by a rattle, and she sometimes appears to be trying to cough and struggling.  It is disturbing to watch, but her facial muscles show no signs of agitation.  The nurses have reassured us that she is relaxed and that the experience is worse

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