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  • Writer's pictureJL Nash

As if it’s not enough to care for a dying relative…

...your ceiling collapses from a burst pipe in your home, in a different country. My poor mother. Exhausted both mentally and physically, gets this news tonight just before she goes to sleep for the first time in nights of being on call for my grandmother. I can't think of much worse. There is a night nurse on duty but I doubt my mother will get much sleep tonight. Here in Australia (touching wood) we are fine but tropical rains are sadly sporadic and the usual lush greenery is lacking. It's going to be a hot Xmas day this year. With only one week away, I wonder whether my grandmother is barely staying alive so as not to cause us all to have a miserable Christmas.

At this rate it's going to be a miserable Christmas anyway for my mum. And she will have to have the heating on to try to dry out the walls and floors. More expense for a pensioner where the the population has coined the expression "eat or heat". I moan about our grocery bill increasing by 30-40% since Covid and the Ukraine war, as well as the mass floodings and bushfires here at home. At least I have my ceiling intact and solar power.

I've just finished Joan Didion's Year of Magical Thinking. I realise I have entered into my own magical thinking. I write 'nanna' at 7 am in my diary for the next two weeks even though she can no longer keep our regular time for chatting. Now, she is in bed most of the time, near death. It's as if my delusion will keep her alive a little longer if I write her name in my diary. I find myself mentally storing interesting titbits to share with her in our morning chats. Except there are no more morning chats and when we do speak on FaceTime she can only manage about five sentences before she is too tired to continue.

I chose a knitting pattern to make for her birthday next year, But she will not be alive in July 2023. And I can't control these delusions. They play out in full before I remember that life is changing and the end of one of my chapters is close.

Despite of my raging against the dying of my grandmother's light, I can see that I have already entered the grief process. I wonder when this magical thinking will disappear? Part of me doesn't want it to.

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