13 September 2007

wonders of old age

Back this morning from 3 days in Paris mixing work and pleasure.

I'd taken my laptop thinking that I would certainly post some entries on this page, but all that happened was that I could not find words. Not worthwhile words. Well at least at the time. Yet I can usually ramble and go on for lines and lines to say not much - like I do now - but it just wouldn't happen there. Also I must say I was quite busy.

I spend most of Monday with my gran' at her nursing home. She was asleep as I arrived but I did give her a light kiss which woke her up. I'll always remember the smile she gave me was the highlight of the day. Her whole face opened up, her question mark-like back straightened in the space of a split second and her lungs inhaled more air all at once than they could remember... She was very present and attentive for approximately 10 minutes before diving again into a world of shadows inaccessible to any human being well and alive. Those 10 minutes had required more energy than she could give and the batteries needed recharging. It seems that the little life left in her is taking the micky out of her and her whole life - everything is given to the body, "that thing" that she had been taught, then taught herself to her children and in particluar her daughters to denigrate, supress, ignore... and worse!
And so I stayed for her mid-afternoon snack but she would not have anything to eat and at least accepted to drink some tea. There again, the effort to bring the cup to er lip would require that she falls asleep - to recover energy? And so time went by til dinner time. Her tray had enough food to give me more than a large lunch and it took her 90 minutes to swallow approximately 15 spoons of soup, a little bowl of salad, a mouthful of cheese, a piece of bread and a peach...

I can't help wondering what is all this spiritual work going on behind the scenes that keep her going. Who are the spirits keeping her in this human world, in human form? What is the purpose for her to be still be here? She's had enough more than once in the last few months and really gave up consciously at least once. Tonight I do not want to wish her to get better, or stay longer... I want to wish her to be as present as possible to whatever is happening to her, in what looks like depression, physical pain, boredom, tiredness, small joys, too! And there are some small joys for her - the fact that one of her 9 children come round twice a day to help her eat and keep her company; the many friends visiting her for short periods of time and reminding her that she's justy had her 44th great-grand child... her face illuminates, her eyes become sharp and witty, proud - surely these are small joys.

We exchanged maybe 30 phrases for the whole 5 hours I stayed with her. I felt peaceful as I left. I know it can sound selfish but it was good for me to have been there with her, for her, but also (mostly?) for me.

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