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Friday, 19 October 2012

Here I sit, in Alan's sitting room, late on a Thursday night, wondering if anyone will notice if I don't do the blog till Sunday.  But I know that you all get anxious on a Thursday night, wondering if I will do just that, delay the writing of the week's events, stringing you out until you cannot cope any longer, leaving you wringing your hands and calling your therapist for advice.  Oh it is a powerful position, that of a blogger.  And one that comes with responsibilities.  It is no excuse to have had such a large Indian meal that you can no longer move your arms.  It is no excuse to be unable to read the screen because your eyes are crossed for the same reason.  So I will struggle to stay upright, and battle on.  Burp.

A Graceful Death is going to Northampton.  I had a look at the venue on Monday, and was very excited to see a screen for projections (our AGD film) that covered an entire wall.  The effect will be hypnotic.  I will be there, normal sized, with my paintings in the room and on one entire wall I will be about 8' high and playing on a loop.  It is lucky that we are being given a small room to chill out and meditate on the themes of the exhibition;  it will be full of people trying to hide under the chairs.

I am preparing my talk too and have given up the idea of a power point.  It is giving me so much pain, that I may give a talk on how the power point has taken over my brain and I am its victim - and this without even knowing if it is on my computer or not.  So, my talk will be from the heart, and I will speak on Spirituality. I think that it is such a simple need, such a simple subject,  and mostly we miss the clues.  I walked into a patient's room recently, a man in his 60s, lying with his back to the door.  I had not met him before, he had recently arrived.  He turned round as I came into his room and said, does it matter that I have taught so many young people, do any of them remember what I said?  Does any of this matter?  I didn't know, and I said that I didn't know.  But what I thought was, this is a spiritual moment.  What do you think?  I asked him.  Does it matter to you?  I used to teach survival techniques in nature, he said.  And now I am here and I will not leave this place.  Was any of it any use?

The next time I went in to see him, he said that he was sorry, his breathing was too difficult to talk.  He was not able to speak again and I do not know if he found any resolutions for his questions.  But I was taught something by him, of the need to recognise the moment, and listen with all my attention.  Yes, I say to his memory, you were still teaching, I was your last pupil.

Today and tomorrow I am finishing my part one Doula for the Dying course in Lewes with Hermoine Elliot and the Living Well Dying Well Foundation.  I have trained with Felicity Warner as a Soul Midwife, and am very happy to have all that I have learned with Felicity affirmed and expanded by Hermoine's excellent course.  One of the best things about these two courses is the people I meet on them.  We are determined and inspired to work with the dying, supporting each other with kindness and love as we try to carve a niche for ourselves and work effectively after our courses.  And it is not easy, I may add.  Ooooh no.  There is so much to learn and such a long slow road to travel.  To be effective we need experience and to get experience we need time and opportunity.  And we need to to ask ourselves constantly, What am I doing?  Am I effective? 

The next day.  Friday morning.

Here I sit, at the breakfast table with Alan, both of us on our laptops, a modern couple.  I have a whopper of a day ahead.  I feel very happy at this breakfast table, it is rather nice to be so modern, so busy, so time-poor that we cannot chat over our banana sandwiches and tea.  Alan is an introvert and I am an extrovert.  I can imagine that documents and important papers are a better option than a bouncing extrovert saying Hi!  Hello.  Look at me! This is what I am going to say.  Hi!  Oooh hoo!  Here are all my thoughts and here is what I think of everything and let's boogie!  Today, I too am on my laptop and feel a sense of real companionship as I tap away publicly blogging about myself, and he taps away on very important tennis business followed by very important invoices.

The whopper part of the day is to leave Lewes this afternoon, drive to Winchester, have dinner with my elderly aunt, her sister, my other elderly aunt and my father, all of whom are together for the first time in many many years, and all of whom will be exhausted by now having been together eyeball to eyeball for the last few days.  My dear father, the youngest at 80, gets very confused and muddled.  I am going to drive from Lewes, dine with all of them in Winchester (a real treat, they are remarkable people), take Dad from Winchester to Teddington where he lives, drop him off and drive back to Bognor Regis.

Yes.  I will go to Heaven. 

And Alan has just looked up from his laptop, to me on mine, across the tiny breakfast table and said, not My dear, how fine you look today.  Or, Do have a lovely last day at your course and go safely as you drive across the country tonight oh wonderful taxi driver.  No, Alan said, it's 8.54 and you are going to be late.

I am going to text him now that I am off, and later I will email him about how my day has been. 

And the blog has been posted on the Friday as promised.  Now I must away.  Bye bye Alan, if I forget to text you, I am off now, see you soon xxx.