16 April 2023

The man got a new lawn mower, solar powered no less. He is happy and the lawn, though shrinking as we allow the wild patches to take over more of and more of it, looks smart enough for a match of tennis. But not our sport and much too cold still.

My employer has started to make suggestions of me working on beyond retirement, which is somewhat flattering and confusing at the same time. Confusing because I have started the notebook of ideas and thoughts of what I want to do when the time comes. A real handwritten notebook no less. I have also already put myself of the waiting list for the book club, the one I have been told about again and again, and they already emailed me to get in touch. I am not good at negotiating and have missed so many opportunities to "sell" myself but maybe now is the time. I have said nothing so far.

The eleven fruit trees in the garden have flowered or are in the process of it and no frost, so keeping fingers crossed. Eleven fruit trees makes it sound like an orchard but the trees are kept smallish, most of them trellised along walls and fence. Three pears, two apples, three plum varieties, one apricot, two peach trees. Plus two almond and one walnut. And a chestnut, of the horse chestnut variety, producing gorgeous blossoms, shade and conkers.

The tulips are in abundance, the grape hyacinths were massive. The forget-me-nots are about to take over. 

So that's the garden.

The latest immunologist, there's a new one at every appointment now, is not happy with the weight loss. Too much, he says, in three months. I explain that I go through phases like that, no appetite, less food, simple. I catch up in the summer, I tell him. He orders more tests which come back fine.

Grief is a strange thing. After my mother's death, I danced with joy and relief. And now that my father has calmly and quietly died in his sleep, no struggle, no drugs, no pain, I expected nothing less. And then I wake in the dark early morning and my mind tells me: I miss him, I miss him, I miss him. I go back to sleep and wake again, go about my day, sort out funeral arrangements, the music and the pictures and the food, with my siblings. R even books a short get-away treat for afterwards. We share memories of my father, silly, awful, hurtful, funny stuff he said and did. We laugh a lot. My employer grants me two days extra leave. Since yesterday, I struggle with a bad case of vertigo, I am seasick, when I move my head, I fall backwards. I walk through the house like a drunk, holding onto the walls. I have exactly ten days to get better before I will have to meet maybe 200 people in a chapel by the graveyard.

I can sleep, but cannot eat.


  1. Well, of the two, I put sleep in the higher regard. Don't get me wrong- eating is one of my favorite pleasures but I think sleep is even better.
    Grief is a strange AND funny thing. And of course we grieve every person differently just as our relationship with every person is different. I think about grief a lot. Probably too much.
    I so, so, so hope that your vertigo passes. Ugh. The worst.
    Be well, dear Sabine.

  2. I also have seasonal vertigo and sometime out of the blue, wobble sideways until I find a comfortable floor...I have taken antihistamines and that seems to do the trick . I am sorry for your seasickness, it is terrible! Little wonder you do not feel like eating much!

  3. Oh, Sabine. I am so sorry for your loss -- grieving a parent is so weird and unexpected in its intensity -- or maybe not unexpected, just different from what I expected when my mother died last year. I've had some bouts with vertigo, and that, too, is so destabilizing. I want to thank you for your thoughtful, sustaining comment on my last post. It helped me so much, and I was acutely aware of it when I entered the hospital for another day with Sophie here.

  4. You've been in my thoughts as I listen to Lisa O'Neill's "All of This is Chance." Good to hear from you and to have gotten to know your father through your posts over the years. Always sending love. Grateful for these glimpses into your full life against several odds.

  5. I hope you are feeling better, steady on your feet, and no more vertigo. Health care is so interesting these days. The doctors come and go, come and go.
    Grief is such a strange thing. It's been five years since my mom died, and I still want to call her up and tell her stories. I hope you are well, steady, and grounded for the gathering in ten days.

  6. I missed your father's death; I'm sorry Sabine.
    We're just starting our spring here. The snow is almost gone but there are still parts of the backyard that are ice, the shady bits. At the same time, my bulbs are starting to poke through the soil.
    Your garden sounds lovely and efficient.
    I'm back to work and my foot is fine but I'm so damned tired and now my left knee is hurting. My body is getting old. Enjoy your retirement. Don't put it off because none of us knows what tomorrow brings.
    Sending hugs and love.

  7. My virtual wishes echo what others have said already. Be well. Just be.

  8. Yes, grief is VERY strange, but it is also important. Take your time maneuvering this sadness.

  9. unless you really want to continue working do not let your boss pressure or guilt you into continuing. he's just being lazy and/or selfish because he doesn't want to find a replacement. retire and find your new life doing the things you haven't been able to because...work.

    grief is weird. I haven't really experienced it, not the way I hear other people talk about their losses. I grieved a little when my father died suddenly from stroke even though for most of my life we did not have a good relationship, very critical of me, but he had had a previous stroke that changed his personality and I had just started to enjoy being around him. my mother's death was long and drawn out, her TIAs slowly killing her brain. it was a relief when she died and never having a good relationship with her, I didn't grieve at all. I've never experienced the feeling of wishing either of them were still here. sometimes I wonder if there is something wrong with me because it's not just my parents but grandmothers and aunts too.

  10. 37paddington
    Let yourself feel it all. Let the gathering wash over you. One step. One breath at a time. We keep on. Perhaps it also feels harder this time because now you are an orphan. For some reason that hit hard when my second parent died. Sending you love dear Sabine.

  11. I too have a chronic illness (MS) and life changes -- less health and more employer/ownership changes) -- helped shift me from a technical writing role to "retirement"/parent care for years. A lifesaver for me has been periodic editing work. It keeps me able to help with our stray cat care feeding and veterinary bills. So, I'd say to you, "yes, maybe it is negiotiating time" (I never did that or promoted myself well either). Some work and some flexibility, if they're game may be a nicei fit? Thinking of you as you process your grief. My mom died a year ago. I don't wish her back, mostly because I don't want her to see my challenges, and because she was ready to go - said "95 is too long to be on earth." Kim in PA (USA)