I wasn't going to write another blog before Christmas but events have spiralled into a downward turn. Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse on the same day I had a fight with my childhood friend, we were told a close relative hasn't long to live. Nothing has changed around the house,the fire is still roaring in the stove, the Christmas tree is sparkling in the corner, our dinner, a stir fry, however turns out to be tasteless.
It reminds me of many other Christmas's. Sadness takes the sparkle away. The Christ Child born in a Stable to give life to us all, can't give life back to the ones we love. My mother died on Christmas Day, my aunt, her sister told me, do not pass go, do not collect £200 - go straight to Heaven, paraphrasing that old Christmas favourite - Monopoly. It doesn't help.
Life is finite, the end is to be expected, and yet such a shock when it comes. A friend of mind died on her beloved Ski Slopes taking novices for a lesson. My uncle died surrounded by family as if falling asleep. One of my aunts phoned me the day she died telling me she had a bad headache and was going to the doctor. We chatted and she said she must rush.
My father was in hospital dying of cancer, he didn't know he was dying, he thought he had a stomach ulcer that had burst. But his throat and stomach had basically gone and that Christmas he sat sucking ice cubes, while we tried to choke down Christmas dinner in front of him. He was taken into Barts Hospital by ambulance later that day.
The following morning about 8 o clock, I answered a phone call, a bit garbled. It was Dad,
he said he was all right and could I tell mum he was okay. He sounded drugged distant. I told him we'll come in and see you this morning. Almost as soon as I put the phone down it rang again, it was Bart's hospital. They asked to speak to Mum, I told them she was still asleep, but I was her daughter could I take a message? The nurse said softly that she was sorry to have to tell me that my father died in his sleep during the night. What time? I asked. She said it was about midnight and that she was with him.
None of it makes any sense. I have thought about that phone call all my life. Dad saying goodbye. The other thing that was weird, was the nurse told me that the ward television
was annoying my Dad because it was rolling and flicking, so he got up and fixed it, then
went back to bed. On the day he died he fixed the ward television.
Death changes you, near death changes you, I remember the Christmas we all cried,
three sisters together for the youngest diagnosed with cancer. She has made a full recovery
Whatever happens, whatever private tragedy we suffer, there are always people worse off
freezing, sleeping rough, bombed out of their homes, starving in their villages, more people committed suicide in the UK in 2016 than any other year. No one knew, no-one helped.
So like the Despair Squid from Red Dwarf, I am full of sorrow and spreading it, and for that I apologise.