Life as I know it

It seems that my life as I know it is about to change, though I have no idea when. My mother, who for several years has ‘enjoyed indifferent health’ – the kind of health that Georgette Heyer gifts to the hypochondriacal mothers of her feisty heroines, so my mother would appreciate the joke: she doesn’t enjoy her indifferent health at all – is on a steady decline. Another one, following several previous occasions when her life hung in the balance. It is testament to her strength of character that she has come so far, so often pulling herself back from the brink by sheer willpower and refusal to concede defeat.

And I’m grateful for the time we have had together, time which, I reflect, we didn’t have while my siblings and I were growing up. Sent off to boarding schools – two apiece, my eldest sister and brother to one, my twin sister and I to a different one – as unlike Mallory Towers as it is possible to imagine, we grew up apart, finding solace, I suspect, in learning, reading and books, much as my mother has always done.

The times when Mum was at home with us – school holidays, mostly – I remember her working hard at her typewriter / computer, in her own thoughts, in her workspace. Determined not to follow that particular example of absenting oneself from the rest of life, I have made a very conscious effort to set my work aside whenever I have company, and so far, the effort has paid dividends. I am not as work obsessed as my mother was, nor as I used to be, since I appreciate with fresh urgency how precious is time spent with other people. A realisation that has become crystal clear during lockdown.

Being in my mother’s company has taught me to be patient, and that there is always room for cheerfulness and optimism; being cheerful and optimistic is often the best thing we can gift to any situation. That is a lesson that will stand me in good stead, and for which I am immensely grateful. Why things are as they are, is often unknown to us; but we can appreciate the progress we make in each day, being kinder and gentler with one another. In being so, there is less to regret, less to worry about. A wonderful lesson to have collected from being with Mum.

Thanks for reading.

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