Categories
death Worst

The Worst Illness

Tessa at Weymouth beach, October 2022, photographed by me

I haven’t posted for 10 days because I have been down South visiting this friend here who is in her last days now of cancer. She is more than ready to go and is just waiting. I’ve also been staying with my Mum and her husband. Mum is 83 and her husband is 88 and has Parkinsons and is moving into early dementia. Mum is his chief carer.

I’ve had a few dear messages from people regarding my friend, most of which saying a version of “cancer is the worst”. Then I talk with my mum who is deal with deterioration of her husband and has seen other friends lose husbands to dementia and she is saying a version of “dementia is the worst”.

I think if we worked on it we could all come up with a way of seeing a friend or family member die as being “the worst”. Those poor people who got shot at that Chinese new year party in LA might be thinking that’s the worst.

But from watching my friend who is dying well I would say the worst way to die is to not be prepared and to fighting it all the way. My friend is at such peace, as is her husband and her son, and so that radiates on to the rest of us. She is calmly saying goodbye, tidying up her possessions, doing what she can and sleeping a lot. She isn’t of any faith at all but she has made her peace with the world and is ready to go.

Of course I am going to be sad when she goes but she has set me a good example, in her life as in her death. I don’t know when my time will come, though I am planning to make it as near to 100 as I can get. But when my time comes, whether it is slowly like cancer, quickly like a bullet, or many of the ways in-between, I want to meet it with peace, with knowing that all will be well, knowing that my estate is in order, that I hold no grudges, that I am at peace.

So I would say the worst death is the death you aren’t ready for whatever that is, which is also why I think we should keep short accounts, try not to hold on to anger and resentment, try not to spend our time going over our past and wonder what we could have done differently,trying not to put too much hope in the future, and just be our kind, open and naturally authentic selves.

And for myself to keep as close to the God of Creation as well as I can.

Categories
Idle Rest

Does Everyone Really Rest?

My Christmas tree December 2021

I said I wasn’t up for posting much at this time of year, but this quote from the Idler’s Almanac really bugged me

In England, before the Reformation, it was a time of complete revelry and not the slightest bit of work was done. Accounts from medieval literature detail how households were taken over with nonstop games, feasts, and gift giving for twelve days. Roasted peacocks would be brought out to meals having been re-feathered and their beaks painted with gold;

Idler’s Almanac 1st December 2022

I worked in a pub when the “Keep Sunday Special” campaign was in full swing back in the late 1980s and would be serving Sunday dinner with drinks to people who were part of this campaign and who could not see the irony that myself and my fellow hospitality workers were still working on a Sunday so they could have their cooked Sunday lunch. And I felt this comment of “not the slightest bit of work was done” and “nonstop … feasts” were in the same paragraph.

The wealthy may not have been working. Some of the farmers may not have been working. Although those with cows would still be milking. But also the servants were preparing the feasts, keeping the nonstop games going, making sure the washing up was done, the party goers had clothes to wear because I’m sure people did not have 12 days of party clothes. There were a lot of people still working. It was a certain people group who were not working.

So even this year when many of us stop to enjoy time either with family or time out, or to endue this period when so much stops, remember those who have to work: not just the nurses but all who are in the health care profession; the farmers who still have to care for their livestock; the teachers who use this time away from school to be planning for the next school year; those in the service stations up and down our motorways because the law says there must always been a skeleton staff on 24/7 365 days a year; the Police, Fire, Ambulance and Coast Guard services, some of whom maybe on call which means they can’t relax into the revelries; those running homeless shelters and animal care centres; the mums and wives who will still be cooking the food and clearing up and keeping the whole show on the road; those manning help lines like Samaritans, Childline, Domestic Abuse charities, Cancer support, etc.

So even like it was back in Medieval revelry time when there were still some doing work over this time, remember those who in 2022/2023 will still have to be working, caring, and keeping going.

I’m afraid we can’t all be idle.

Categories
International Women's Day

International Women’s Day

Found on https://www.wheniscalendars.com/when-is-international-womens-day/

I remember my daughter asking why we had to have “Black History Month” when the history of all nations is interwoven. Well the same, I think, holds true for International Women’s day. Why should we have a special day to celebrate women? Well this article on the BBC helps one to know why – Why misogyny is at the heart of South Korea’s presidential elections

The article goes on to say –

South Korea has one of the worst women’s rights records in the developed world. And yet it is disgruntled young men who have been the focus of this country’s presidential election.

“Nearly 90% of men in their twenties are anti-feminist or do not support feminism,” he tells me.

I am only citing this article today because it was on my newsfeed. Too often in too many countries, even ones that cannot be cited as having bad women’s rights records, women still stand behind men in too many things, even if it is just how they are viewed.

How often do we expect it to be the man who follows a career and the women who stays at home to support him? How often do women change their schedules because a man cannot change his? I heard too often over lockdown and home working that it was the man who got the best room in the house to work and the woman had to juggle her demanding job around childcare. For a women to put herself first it is harder than a man in too many cases.

Though I also know my husband would say that as a man it is hard not to be expected to be the breadwinner and would be frowned on by many in society for not being the top earner.

But with all this going on I want to just honour a few women

  • the young women I have worked with in Youthshedz who can talk about hope when they have walked through some really tough things in their young lives.
  • the friend who has been living with cancer for years and yet is still setting up her own craft business and not giving in
  • the women who stay home to look after their children
  • the women who choose a career
  • the women who support each other’s life choices.

Two women who always come to mind when I have to talk about women are Pam and Betty.

Pam tipped my Christian worldview upside down and opened me up to thinking about my faith rather than just accepting what I was told. This has led to a much deeper and sometimes more controversial walk with God than it could have. Her and her husband welcomed me and my kids into their lives at just the right time, and have made space for my husband now too.

Betty, as well as teaching me how to make gravy with fat from the meat, flour and vegetable juices, which I still think of as “Betty’s gravy” even 35 years on, also opened my eyes to political issues, to relationships, to looking at sex, in a whole different way. Her and her husband also welcomed me into their home, but that was at a time when I was a wee bit crazy.

So I should also add to my list – women who have room in their lives and their families to welcome in others.

So to all of whatever gender help to use today to celebrate the women in your life