Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Monday 22nd December

I love going to the beach. I am well-known for this. I can spend every day on holiday at the beach – and more. I am also known for getting impatient with the family if they don’t get up early enough in the morning to get to the beach at a decent time. I will also get impatient if we end up doing some other thing on a beautiful day, which means we waste beach time.

Not any more it seems. Well, not at the moment.

This cancer thing, including the chemo, seems to have taught me patience. Out of necessity.

There have been so many reasons to wait for something in the last number of months that it seems to have rubbed off on me. We have been at Sedge for three days. In that time, we have been to the beach every day – but not for the whole day, by any manner of means. We have also done plenty of other things that have taken up time we could have spent on the beach. This has included going to the shops in George, where everyone from Mossel Bay to this side of Knysna apparently goes shopping during the days before Christmas. During all of this, I have not become really anxious about ‘wasting beach time’.

I am also learning to accept that I will not be up at 6, like I usually am on holiday and going for a run. I am doing what everyone tells me to do and ‘listening to my body’. If I need to sleep, then I guess I need to 😉

I’ve found that my ‘usual’ pattern has been affected somewhat, but also kind of reversed. I have been for a run / walk every day so far, except today when we went paddling J

So exercise is still on the agenda. Not as much as ‘usual’ when we are here.

Little has been ‘usual’ for me in the last while, though.

Little has been ‘usual’ or ‘normal’ for any of us in this family for the last year, in fact.

What is definitely not ‘usual’ is to have to face Christmas without Mum. It’s getting closer and more real now. And it sucks.

I go into her bedroom here in the house, almost expecting to speak to her. I know she’s not here, but it’s still horrible to have to remember.

Patience doesn’t help here. I can be as patient as I like and this will never, ever be corrected. Mum will not be back.

Maybe, though, if I am truly patient enough, then I will be able to feel her near. She is here, in her garden, with all of us in her own special way.

Maybe it’s just a matter of time.

When I go out in the morning and hold a handful of cheese out as Mum used to and her drongo comes and perch on my hand to eat it, then I think, “This is ‘being Mum’.”

Maybe I just need to look closer at myself, at all of us, and I will really, truly see her here with all of us for Christmas this year too.

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