Posted by Lyra Mollington
It turns out that I am a terrible patient. My sister Myra used to be a nurse so this wasn’t a winning combination. Mr M collected me on Saturday and I’m recuperating at home.
Thankfully I’m no longer confined to my bed although walks on the common are out of the question for at least another week. Barry has kindly offered to type for me again. I wasn’t well enough to proof-read the last one and it was only on Tuesday that I discovered he had been a little mischievous with those brackets.
(Yes Barry – they were quite funny.)
Having almost died, I expected never to take anything for granted again. Sadly, life isn’t as straightforward as that. I was home for barely five minutes when I noticed dust on a side table. I could see that Mr M was disappointed – perhaps he was hoping for a new devil-may-care wife. If anything I’m even more irritated by the little things because I have nothing to do. Mr M can’t understand why I’m still getting upset if Colin doesn’t have fresh water in his bowl each day.
(Yes Barry, I know that dogs drink out of puddles.)
By Wednesday, I was feeling much stronger which was perfect timing – Daisy and Lilian had arranged for all our friends to come round for afternoon tea to celebrate my 75th birthday. I’ve never received so many interesting presents. They included: a CD from Rosie with the warning that, although the music is beautiful, it may take a ‘bit of effort’; the complete DVD box set of Inspector Morse from Lilian; a teapot with a union jack design to commemorate the 2012 Games (I had completely forgotten about the Olympics – Mr M and I have tickets for the Greco-Roman wrestling and I very much hope I will be well enough to go); exotic hand-cream from Daisy; and (to Sue’s slight embarrassment because she had clearly chosen this gift well before my illness) the latest Peter James crime thriller. They all have ‘Dead’ in the title.
We had a lovely time. But we all ignored the elephant in the room: my near-death experience. Was it only a year ago that Rosie had nearly choked on her cup-cake when Lilian brightly announced, ‘Let’s make a list of what we want to do before we die!’? There was no stopping us then, happily deciding on our bucket lists. I think it was Lilian and Kathleen who began shouting out as many adventurous and dangerous activities as they could think of: jump out of an aeroplane (one of them added, ‘With a parachute!’); fly in a helicopter; ski down a glacier; scuba dive; ride a camel… I never did tell them that I had done everything on their list – except for the camel. However, I had learned to ride on the most enormous horse I’d ever seen.
(Yes Barry, I can see that you’re impressed.)
Needless to say, on this my birthday afternoon, no mention was made of bucket lists. As Daisy poured another cup of tea (not too strong; a DROP of milk and no sugar) I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself. As one of my favourite funeral poems says, ‘Matters it now if time began, if time will ever cease? I was here, I used it all, and now I am at peace.’
So I started planning a few activities suitable for my recuperation.
I am going to read the latest Peter James book (with the gloriously apt title – Not Dead Yet). I am going to listen to the ‘difficult’ CD Rosie gave me, even though I have never even heard of Pergolesi or his sacred Stabat Mater. And I am going to listen to it properly – not have it as background music whilst doing the housework. Also, I’m going to start sorting out all those photographs that are in envelopes in a drawer – maybe even scan them. At the weekend, I’m going to watch Bruce Willis in all his Die Hard films.
(Yes Barry, you and Daisy can come round and watch them with me.)
And I’m going to draw up plans for my next funeral – as a spectator I hasten to add. Incredibly, I have never been to a woodland burial.