22 December 2010

She is 29 years old and in a few months she will receive her PhD in agricultural science. She wants to continue researching crop diseases. She married her boyfriend, a fellow researcher, when they found out that she was pregnant. She wants five sons. This is her first daughter. She will have another daughter and a son within the next four years. She will never set foot in the university again. She will move into a comfortable semi-detached home. She will decorate it stylishly. She will create a lovely garden. She will grow fruit and vegetables, experimenting with different varieties. She will sew matching outfits for her three children. She will have the neighbours round in the evenings for drinks and bridge. She will chat with other mothers at children's parties. She will make jam and bottle the fruit from her garden. She will try out new recipes and solve crossword puzzles. She will drive her kids to horse riding and music lessons. During the summer holidays by the seaside she will read crime novels. She will teach her children how to identify birds and butterflies. She will watch her husband and former colleagues move up in her field of expertise. One day she will take her baby son and climb on the window ledge upstairs and threaten to jump if the daughters don't tidy up the toys.
She will smoke lots and lots of cigarettes and she will have problems sleeping. She will start taking the pills her doctor thinks she should take. She will stop trying out recipes and inviting the neighbours round. She will stop getting up in the mornings to see her children leave for school. She will not watch them perform in school concerts or compete at sports' days. She will start with a martini, maybe a glass of wine, a brandy and so on. She will fight with her husband a lot. She will try to kill herself a couple of times. She will not approve of her daughters' career choices and partners. When her husband eventually moves out she will often forget to eat for days. Some days she will not recognise her children or her grandchildren. She will forcefully reject all offers of help. She will recover from bypass surgery long enough to show affection for her children. Soon after, her lungs will collapse and she will spend six long months on a heart-lung machine unable to speak or move before she will die of pneumonia. She will dedicate her body to medical research. There is no grave.


  1. Ach, wie traurig für Alle. Sounds a bit like my father in the sequence of events.

  2. heartbreaking and a gorgeously written story.

  3. It is heartbreaking. This life story that you tell.

    How are you S? Me, still trying to find a foothold, somehow, in this slippery slope we call daily life.

    The winter solstice has passed and even though I live in the tropics, I take notice of that, just another way of marking the passage of time.

    Thank you for being one of those who made a difference in my life with your words.

    Take care.

  4. This makes my heart ache.