There is loss and there is only loss, which means that life is what we make of loss, which is an impossible task, to make something of loss, so life must simply be how we live, and continue to live, amidst the unthinkably unmakeable. It is, every day, so deeply humbling to take each and every breath. If I don’t hold onto that, I know I will let it go.Devin Kelly
Sometimes, usually in the early hours before sunrise, when I am awake but not quite yet fully there, I wonder whether the almost daily painful abdominal cramps that have been bothering me for some time now are somehow related to my father slowly dying four hundred kilometers away. But then I think, no, he's not that important in my life. I am not going to be at a loss, grief will be minimal. And in any case, if he starts having an impact on my health now, in his final stretch, what about all the years earlier? Obviously, I could connect it all to him at a stretch. Or to my mother, just to be fair, spreading the blame evenly. But I know it won't stick. I will not deny that illness is connected to how we feel, what stress we face and that we know little about the myriad causes of what affects our physical and mental well being. But anxiety has never been a strong case with me, I think I don't have the imagination for it. I am too plain, too absorbed in worry.
Earlier today, a stink bug that overwintered in one of the flower pots on the window sill beside my desk walked onto the monitor and I picked it up with a tissue, crushed it in the course of it and then flushed it down the toilet. Bad bad karma, my inner voice tells me, look what you've done, you killed the bug unnecessarily. You could have released it into the garden. But it's below zero outside, it would have died anyway. So? At least you would've given it a chance. A chance? I should have keep it inside, somewhere safe, the basement maybe. but what about the stink? Isn't it released when you crush the shell and what if it's toxic, is there some trace of it on your fingers. Etc.
Today, I got up really early because I cannot handle cycling to work at sub-zero temperatures. My hands go numb, no matter how efficient the windproof, arctic tested felt lined gloves and it takes ages to get some feeling back. The car parking spaces for staff are limited at the moment because of road works at the campus and it's first come first serve. On the way, driving as one of the thousands in our dark cars I got myself into a fit imagining that everybody must have had the same idea and that I would have to spend ages cruising around the area trying to find semi legal parking to the point that I even contemplated turning around and calling in sick. In the end of course there was lots of space and I was one of the first to arrive.
Also, two days ago, I fainted when I got in from the cold. I have fainted before and in comparison, this was a teeny tiny mini faint but one nevertheless because I found myself on the bottom of the hall stairs and had no idea how I got there and why my keys and mittens were on the hall floor. My previous faints were more dramatic swooshing affairs, once I knocked down a small chest of drawers while going down, another time I vomited in full flight so to speak (I was pregnant), once I was actually driving or rather waiting at a traffic light but luckily, it was a quiet side street and when I came to, no cars were honking behind me.
It's not half as hilarious as I try to pretend. I am due for a check-up next week.
When I sat with my father on Sunday, he said these sentences in between sleeping:
A selection of refreshments has been ordered from the kitchen.
Please accept my sincere apology for this late reply.
Get me my hunting jacket and the new shoes.
None of it made sense, obviously. He never had a hunting jacket, he never apologised to me for anything. But I repeat them in my head, like a silent mantra with a hidden message.