Friday 18 December 2009

Curses And Blazes Pass Me A Hanky for my website for the exhibition A Graceful Death next coming to London in February to email me

Curses And Blazes Pass Me A Hanky

I still have a cold. I still feel dreadful and cough all night. I splutter and wheeze and drip and this is Not Good. If I lived in a house where there was nothing to do I could go to bed. But I have things to do, exhibitions to mount and publicise, commissions to draw in, Christmas to prepare, large hungry offspring to welcome and feed for the next two weeks and the hamsters need cleaning. Bah. And I, in keeping with my warm and sunny nature, need to keep smiling and being nice to everyone that crosses my path because if I don't, I may begin to melt and disappear into a puddle of whining snivelling self pity. If I do that, I will have to explain myself and no one will believe my cheery waves and jolly little greetings were ever real.

But. But last night I lay in my bed and thought a bit harder about this being unwell business. I lay feeling achey and weary in a clean soft bed with fluffy cushions and a tray of tea. I had access to a bath and lots of hot water. It was only a cold, a bad one, but just a cold and I am not used to feeling unwell. I have medicines, the kind requests for updates from my friends and family, and a kitchen full of food. All this must mean something. I am fortunate beyond imagining if I am able to care for myself like this. I did go to Brighton yesterday to 19 Year Old Daughter's flat for the day, and I went feeling weepy with headaches, body aches and so on. But when I got there, she had a pot of tea ready, and a small nest of cushions and rugs on the sofa, and the water ready for a hot bath, and breakast on the go. So look, I said to myself last night. Look at what you have. I didn't feel any less ill, but I did wonder at how life had given me so much. In London, Alan was working hard and has the same cold but can't stop. So if I can lie in my bed, with everything possible for my benefit at my finger tips, have I not, in a wider sense, a very good life?

I could not read so I lay back and thought I would just let my mind drift and see what happened. This is not easy, one is prey to all sorts of unwanted thoughts and unwelcome ideas but I decided I would stick with it. It couldn't be that bad, I was, as I had recognised, surrounded by quite a lot of good stuff. (I must add that the knowledge of being surrounded by Good Stuff was only intellectual at that point, because I felt so physically unwell. I was not suffused in a golden glow of Something Like Nivarna). I lay back and thought of whatever came to mind, and do you know, it was like a meditation. I felt very in tune with life and a little teeny bit touched by God. No. I had not had doubled my lemsip and was not on a paracetamol high. I had not had anything except tea. And no, 13 Year Old Son did not slip a bit of morphine into the milk. I do think that however it happens, often aided by all sorts of things (like a cold), we can have moments of deep meditation which is like prayer. I was very comforted by my moments last night. I wondered too if I was terminally ill, and these symptoms were part of something that would eventually end my life, what would I feel? It certainly changed my interpretation of how bad I felt. It was not an easy thing to think. I wondered how Steve felt as his body simply did not move on and get better, and how his symptoms started like this - with something relatively small. How would I feel? Would any of the wonderful hot water, full kitchen, nice friends and family, fluffy cushions mean anything at all? I could not reach any conclusions, except that I would certainly lose the ability to see the best in things.

In the night I dreamt a dream again. I was in a car and was being followed by a car behind me. I stopped and got out, and the car behind me stopped too and out got Steve. Oh, I said, Where have you been? As I gave him a hug around his middle and he chuckled and said I've always been here, and returned my hug and kissed the top of my head. We stayed like that for a while, kind of catching up a bit before he got back into his car, I into mine, and drove off.

And now, back to the nitty gritty of day to day. My lovely Alan is not well, and he needs to rest for a good few days. I don't think he'll do the fluffy-cushion-let's-meditate-and-get-one-with-the-universe thing though. He is far too sensible for that, and he will do the lemsip and chesty cough medicine routine and so will not, as far as I know, have a visit from The Beyond.

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