Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Saturday 16th May

It’s funny how things dominate your thoughts, but I suppose that’s natural, especially when a date or something has a particular significance.

My birthday, for example, will always have a double significance after last year.

Today, by date (not day, as this date was a Friday last year), we all went to the church for a great party – including Mum. That was the last time she was out and about. The next day she went into hospital and never went home again.

This week is going to be a horrible week.

It’s also going to be an ordinary week. I have to plan when to see my students in the schools and have to keep on writing, as I have an important deadline at the end of the month. It’s always good to keep busy, but especially so when there are so many memories that can infiltrate and upset.

There are, of course, so many good memories, too, that surface at different times and just make me smile, or sniff, as the mood hits. So much of the good is about remembering Mum and Dad and what wonderful parents they were and how much they gave us and did for, and with, us. These are always double-edged memories, as they lead to the thoughts of the sadness of having lost both of them.

The wonder of the memories always wins.

Then, of course, there is always the new that keeps coming into our lives. Michael has started shooting at school and he had another competition yesterday. This was his third, but the second I have attended. It’s such a different world and still reminds me of my first forays into canoeing, when Sarah first started. I knew practically nothing, now look at me!

I’m not so sure that I will actually end up shooting (different context, different opportunities), but I already know a lot more than I did before and I have decided to make some of the equipment, as Michael needs it, so does the school.

What our children get us into!

In between all of this, I am being very sensible and haven’t thought more than fleetingly about running or paddling in the last few days, as I have a cold. I am steadfastly determined that it is not going to go to my chest, which it is trying to do. The only way I can prevent this is to be very sensible and calm and not put my body under any more strain than it needs to be. And to get as much rest as possible.

Not always easy.

I am, of course, reminded of the last time I had a cold and how I had to wait to get better before having surgery, as the wheezing was not such a good idea during an anaesthetic.

I have felt upset and annoyed at being sick, even though it has only been for 3 / 4 days. I think it’s just that I have been the ‘patient’ for such a long time, that it is enough now.

I feel, of course, a bit like a fraud when I say that, because there are people who are patients for so very much longer than I was. I do think, though, that everyone’s reality is important for them as they experience it.

Everything is, of course, relative. My cold won’t last long (especially if I carry on being eminently sensible) and I will start running and paddling again. And going to gym.

Step-by-step. This is a long, continuous journey, after all.

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