Sunday, March 25, 2007

Spring forward, Fall back

And then, all of a sudden, my Hidden Resources failed me.

I found myself on Saturday afternoon weeping into my lunch with Anna-mouse at my knee, handing me storybooks she thought might cheer me up.

This won't do, I thought. And spent the rest of the weekend trying to catch up with myself, which felt a bit like trying to catch up with the day after the clocks went forward last night - something which always confuses me.

It never sits easily with me that on something close to a whim, on a certain Saturday night in March each year we set our clocks one hour forward, and on a certain Saturday night each October we set them one hour back. 'Spring forward, Fall back' is the neat little phrase someone taught me long ago for remembering which hour went where, and when.

This weekend - whose principal theme has been 'To Chemo or Not to Chemo, that is the question' - I've been doing the same. Trying to spring forward to embrace a thoroughly unembraceable idea, and finding myself falling back in a heap. It's not a conversation anyone would want to have, let alone with their fierce, proud, beautiful mother.

And yet there Esme and I were (oh, once we'd been along to the Hospital Walk-In Centre in the drizzling rain to have a rogue staple removed from her navel which had managed to get itself overlooked) sitting together in front of her fire, as we've sat together so often in the past, discussing the unthinkable. I would hope never to go to the place of that discussion again, although even as I write I know I'm fantasising, because I will accompany Esme to her second oncology appointment next Friday. It was uneasy also because she and I did not entirely agree on her choice of proposed treatment, of which there are two: Really Horrendous and Slightly Less Horrendous (but still horrendous). Esme being Esme, she wants to go for the full shebang.

Perhaps it is good to be reminded, by these sharp moments, how very, very different each one of us is. How our body belongs to no-one but ourselves. How the way in which we choose to live our life, and ultimately the manner of our death, is a deeply personal affair.

And if I can only get this damn heart of mine to catch up with my head, I may be of some use to my mother in helping to ensure that this is so for her, too.


Cathy said...

Learning to stand back and let loved ones make their own decisions, even when we do not wholly agree, is so hard. But your mother sounds like a lady who knows her own mind and that will give her the strength to get through whatever she chooses.


Rachel Whetzel said...

I feel like I've been neglecting to comment far too often when I read your posts. I just want to say that I think about you often, and that even though I've not been so good at leaving proof that I was here, I HAVE.