Monday, December 7, 2009

Love hurts

I have never been one of those women who beat themselves up because they haven't been a perfect parent or boss or spouse. No mea culpa and breast beating for me; I did my best and sometimes I did my worst, I am only human after all. But since 9/11, not you know what but the day I was told about my lungs and what it might mean, I have felt this ridiculous kind of guilt and nothing I can do seems to be able to dispel it.

I feel I have let everyone down by letting this thing get a hold of me. When I told my children I apologised. I was saying although, I didn't, that I was sorry to be exposing them to such worry and sorrow. I have always tried to protect them from exactly that and although I know I can't do that as the world is not always a friendly place, and none of them take the easy path; I never wanted to be the bringer of sadness to them.

I was always terrified, right up into middle age about my Mom dying, in the end she did it bit by bit and very gently and it didn't hurt hardly at all; she lasted till she was over 90 and we all knew it was time. Now I even feel I am letting her down and my Dad and I look away from their photos and pictures as I pass them. This is not what they had in mind for me.

What I want to be able to do is tell my children not to hurt but they will. I want them to be strong and not let the sadness damage them but I can't make it happen and I can't lay any daft guilt on them in case at times it all gets too much. It's the missing that's the worst and I have thought about buying a few years of phone credit and leaving a few messages. You know press 1 for advice on relationships, jobs etc; press 2 for well done and you are the best whatever happens messages; press 3 for load of old rubbish comments about modern parenting guidance; press 4 for babysitting duties: yes bring them round but ask your Dad first; press 5 for general words of encouragement and affection. I could also store away a few years of carefully chosen Christmas and birthday presents or leave a forward Amazon order; a wish list.

And what about Stewart - well another strange irrational feeling; this time that he is in it with me, I always refer to we and us about what the doctor says or about what treatment we are opting for. We do sometimes talk about "after" but it feels like Japan or Siberia a place we know about but can't really imagine. The guilt feels less with him because somehow we have always lived with an element of uncertainty and fragility; as do all couples.

Sorry to be so gloomy but I have pre-Dresden neurosis; I will stop as my friend Doug reminds me it's a place of hope and reconstruction. If they can build back a shattered city, then my silly lungs should be a doddle.

I will take the laptop with me and test the Vorsprung Durch Technik but if it doesn't work, I will get Jess to do some update posts for me.

Watch this space and I will return in time for a wonderful Christmas; you all have one too and many more to follow


  1. I have it straight from the proverbial horse what a wonderful mother you are. That photo is just gorgeous, too. I hope Dresden is everything you hope.

  2. Pile on the guilt nothing matters but you and us all now, we don't... it is a tonic to be asked to do things lots of things. You are the perfect mother not in a Nigella way although you are a great cook and host; but you are exactly what we all need whenever we need anything and you have given us enough already to fill us up for the rest of our lives. Like I said to you on the way to the Marsden that contrary to popular belief it is better to leave your coat on than to take it off so that you feel the benefit, we have never taken you off, there is no amends to be made, no gaps you failed to fill, we kept you on and it keeps us warm through, a warm that will last forever.

    Lots of love
    The proverbial horse

  3. Dear Jean, you said it in 2nd para, end line 5 "none of them take the easy path". I'm guessing none of them wanted or needed to take the easy path, because you give, and have given them, enough courage and love to want and need to go through this with you. It’s a gift, not a guilt.