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May 2011


Last Thursday's meeting with the social worker went well. I was a bit worried that we'd be given some delay to "deal with the grief", whatever that piece of socialworkerese means, but no, this doesn't seem to be the policy. The detective was sweet, ultra-sympathetic. We will forge ahead.

Life has been getting back on track. If by getting back on track you mean waking up in the morning thinking oh jaysos, I have to do x and do do x, and survive it, surprisingly.

On Monday night I found myself, as I occasionally do, in front of some people. A class of people. Teaching, imparting knowledge, illuminating hoi polloi, sort of thing. As if I knew something. [Titter!]
I did run through my slides at home with the cat as my audience, but I still had that horrible drymouth why did I ever think I could do this feeling, this is awful, I hate this, I have aphasia, I feel like I am having a mini-stroke, like my father, I am, IT'S THE ONLY LOGICAL EXPLANATION, and, gawdgawd, please, make it be over? But that only lasted a few minutes. I remembered to breathe before I pegged out purple-faced on the carpet from oxygen starvation, and soon enough, the panic gave way to the adrenaline exhaustion and who cares anyway vibe born of this month's events. Not so far off,  O'bama (as we like to call him) was giving a speech in College Green. It was historic. Hurray for dignitaries visiting, and giving us the chance to give them a hundred thousand welcomes. This has been Good For All Concerned, especially as they both escaped unscathed, just the way we (sane, vast vast majority of) Irish people wanted. Thanks be, for reason won.

So that was that, another few days sucked down the drain of time.

P-kit, now referred to by the JB as Honorblackman, (poor SeƱor Gato has been ousted, Andie) is still here. In fact, every day that passes Honorblackman is a little more here, as Honorblackman expands her territory throughout the garden into the house, up the stairs and onto the furniture. First Honorblackman's favourite perch was on top of the garden chest, then outside my shed, then inside, then inside on a cushion, which I had been somehow brainwashed into providing, now, inconveniently, on my drawing tablet.  I have to bend my arms around Honorblackman to type, while she puts her paws on the touchpad, making the pointer jump, purring and letting out an occasional potent fart.

Don't ask me how this happened, let us merely accept that I now dedicate my time to appeasing a feline. It is what it is. I am a cat lady.

a good man

And so it goes, indeed.

Saturday morning at 3.30am the good, honest heart of KDiddy finally ceased beating. Even now, after all the rigmarole of the funeral and attendant rituals, there is an air of unreality about this fact. In the end, they think he got a hospital bug that he simply could not fight because of his other health problems. Such a sad, regretful thing. If only, if only.

I was proud of how gracious and quietly humorous JB was at the wake, wearing his Dad's nice tweed sportscoat, shaking the many mourners' hands. All the townspeople came. KDid had lived in that small town on the edge of the world for all his long - almost 80 - years, and those many friends and acquaintances, some of whom had known him all his life, or all theirs, were drawn to the wake, mobilised by the local radio station, many with a lifelong history with KDid. We must have shaken over a 100 hands at the wake, so many that patterns would emerge in the faces leaning in to say they were sorry - so many that you'd start to think that hey, haven't you already been around?

All sorts of people came, young and old. Of course other people loved him too - I don't know why this hadn't occurred to me. He had this pure child-like presence, this kind of innocence and modesty that appealed to everyone. He was funny. He was handsome. I remember whenever we'd go to visit him, he'd be in the kitchen with his tie and jacket on, always beautifully shaved and smelling of Imperial Leather. He was cool. He'd wear dark glasses in the summer and keep a straightface for the camera. He was scrupulous. Humble, tolerant. He had a map of the world on the kitchen wall, and that was what he wanted for his boys, the world - he was a great friend to them. He taught them everything they needed to know.
Ha. The JB hasn't lost his sense of humour. We had an hour to buy some funeral-appropriate clothes in the small town where the county hospital was - we had nothing with us. I hastily bought a desperate black mac that has a weird smell in Penneys and Johnny grabbed some trousers. He didn't have time to try them on so when we were getting ready for the funeral, we had this hysterical moment where he tried to pour himself into them - they were painted on, I don't know how he ever knelt down in them. So there we were all scruffy and thrown together, him in his drainpipes and a tie of his father's and me in my malodorous coat and office trousers with the wrong sort of shoes, and JB's brother and his girlfriend were all decked out in sunglasses and immaculate black suits, like Hollywood stars. Oh dear.
Ah well.

After the funeral, there was a few hang sangwiches and soup in a local hotel, more stories with friends. Some people came all the way from Dublin, including Brother, and Sister1 and Sister2, a collection of colleagues, all of whom had to leave home at 5am to be there. People were so good. They showed us what to do, ushering us in at the burial, like substitute parents. 

And now, I am back in the big smoke, and with the bad timing of which the universe seems to be so inordinately fond, tomorrow we have our home visit with the social worker. The JB is determined to push ahead with it.

So I better go and make the house look like sane people live in it.


Next parish, America.

[Btw, it appears I really do have a cat. P-kitty. She wore me down! I've been buying proper cat food and I made arrangements for Sister1 to feed her while we were away. It's a done deal, isn't it? I do, I have a cat. Drawings soon.]


Ah! A few minutes free to post, at last:

  • KDiddy has taken another turn for the worse. Deep, deep sigh. He was moved from Regional Hospital to County Hospital yesterday and was pronounced to be very poorly when he arrived, dehydrated with low blood pressure. He was categorised as critical last night, and upgraded to serious this morning. County thinks Regional should never have moved him. However, County is less busy and is able to give him more attention, so now he's there, it's probably good.
    All these vertiginous ups and downs are making me rethink some things. The reality is sinking in that the care of a chronically ill older patient like KDid is about management of symptoms, about balancing one symptom against another, about diminishing returns. It's sad. Then (not that it's to do with what I think. Heh.) I wonder about quality of life issues - and how long a man with congestive heart failure can live, and I realise all we can do is try to be present with him, and accept that it's a matter of time. It's the best we can do.
    I think the JB was there before me. He is very close to his father, but he has gone through this fire with his mother, who died in 2001, and he has understood something about life that I just haven't had to. He's sad, but calm. He has been preparing himself for this for years, after all.
    On the other hand, KDid might be one of those creaking door people who just keep going. And if that is the case, all we can do is make sure he is as well looked after as possible, and make the most of the time we have.
  • Psychokitty is a fecking despot. She just summarily murdered a bird in the garden. I hope she disembowells the poor thing somewhere else. Is there anything I can do, does anyone know, to prevent her turning the garden into an impromptu bird cemetry? (Btw, how much are they meant to eat, these felines? She is always, always begging for food.)


  • I got the place on the Child Art Psych*therapy course. I don't think I'll take it, this year, anyway. It's very expensive and there doesn't exactly seem to bring a plethora of work opportunities with it. I am looking at some other related ones, which might give me more of a string to my bow as far as work is concerned.
  • We survived the third of our interviews with the detective. Poor her, for cringe cringe cringe, I have a horrible, sneaking suspicion that we came off as the smugest couple in the history of the universe. When you're being assessed, it doesn't seem the moment for total honesty, I suppose. You present a sanitised, saintly view of yourself.
    Huh. We weathered the How Is Your Sex Life, too. I had a horrible moment when the Zany Monkey, feeling left out, lept on my back wanting to tell the detective how lucky we were to be compatible in That Way and how it hadn't been So with previous partners and oh shut up, can someone tape up my lips PLEASE.

I feel a bit robotic and like my adrenaline has run out. Not so bad, really. Like I've finally understood there's no point worrying. HFF and Adele have been over some mighty peaks recently, and I am thrilled to say that bunny is standing on the top of her mountain.

So it goes, eh. Just have to keep pedalling until you can freewheel for a while.