The little one

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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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Why should it take an earthquake?

Why should it take an earthquake?

I’ve been thinking, this morning, about how quickly one’s perspective can change, often through illness or a sudden event that causes us to focus on what’s important. I have often listened to people who have faced trauma or long-term, serious illness and been inspired by their views.  Then, inevitably, I have thought ‘What if it didn’t take something so huge and catastrophic to force us to re-evaluate our lives and our values?’ I had an awful dose of tonsillitis just before the summer.  I was at home, off work, for almost a week, in a lot of pain, shivering, sweating

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When forgetting is a blessing

When forgetting is a blessing

Last night was quite difficult, emotionally. As you know, my beloved grandma has Alzheimer’s and my mum is living with her as a full-time carer.  Over the past few weeks, she has deteriorated rapidly, the ravages of the disease taking its toll on her body as well as her mind.   In contrast to a couple of months ago when we were able to take her out to the seafront and she would walk for a few minutes, holding onto her wheelchair, enjoying the fresh air and, usually, an ice cream, she is now bedbound, barely able to lift her

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How an animal can save your life

How an animal can save your life

I have always been an animal lover, but recently I have really seen how much of a positive impact a pet can have upon a person who is ill, lonely or suffering. When my mum moved into my grandparents’ bungalow to look after them (my grandad, last summer, with an aggressive brain tumour and my grandma having Alzheimer’s), she took my cat, Maisie, with her.  I say ‘my’ cat because that is how everybody refers to her, even my mum.  Whilst Maisie these days is comfortable with everyone–even my young nieces and nephews who shower her with sometimes over-zealous cuddles

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The progression

The progression

Things are progressing, I know. Despite my trying to breathe in every detail of the moment in some childlike hope of preserving it–the shop-bought fragrance that releases in occasional puffs from beneath the hostess trolley by the door, the warm rumblings of the cat’s belly against my thigh, the silenced tennis match on the TV, the way the pale light falls in uneven stripes through the old, broken blinds—things are progressing (regressing?) and there is nothing we can do about it. We are simultaneously slipping through the wide sinkhole of the future, and falling back through the broken pieces of

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The garage

The garage

I wrote this after my beloved grandfather passed away last year.  He had a high-grade glioma (brain tumour) and died peacefully at home after being nursed by my mum for several weeks.  After writing about him a little yesterday, I wanted to share.  I cleaned out my grandparents’ garage today, to make room for my mother’s things– two double beds, bluish-black sofas, antique dresser units, all of the cumbersome kitchen essentials. I tried to be ruthless, without throwing away anything of importance. But is an old red petrol can not important, given the circumstances? Seven months ago he left, never

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Eudora

This beautiful lady, Eudora (Dora) is my grandmother.  She has Alzheimer’s.  She turned 85 on the 17th of August this year and, in the past two weeks, her mobility has decreased to very little, her speech is slurred and she sleeps much of the time.  She can barely lift her chin from her chest.  It is a change from the agitation and anger of the past couple of months, she is quiet and gentle at the moment, but her sudden deterioration is shocking and sad.  She is in pain this afternoon, itching and aching everywhere, but she still finds the

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