Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.
We don’t write in a bubble — we write in the world, and what we say is influenced by our experiences. Today, take a cue from something you’ve overheard and write a post inspired by a real-life conversation. Revisit a time when you wish you’d spoken up, reminisce about an important conversation that will always stick with you, or tune in to a conversation happening around you right now and write your reaction. Take time to listen — to what you hear around you, or what your memories stir up.
I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.
– Ernest Hemingway
So I have been struggling a little bit with these challenges, firstly they come out gone 3pm my time and with children it is impossible to write until the next morning as they have come and understandably want attention.
Secondly by the time the next day has arisen all the other people in the challenge on US time zone are fed up of reading other peoples posts and have nigh on given up, which means for us on Euro time zones posting the next day get very little feedback from others in the challenge, which is one of the essential things when doing a ‘writing’ challenge is to get feedback especially from others in the same predicament.
Thirdly but not least, this has taught me that I cogitate my material much like a cow chewing cud. I simply cannot write fiction off pat, not unless my mind does a somersault which is never and also if non fiction I still find it very hard to ‘just’ retort a post quickly to a challenge, so there we are, now two days behind.
I had a subject in mind for this days challenge but because of the subject nature, it was something I had to mul over as to how I was going to present it, if in fact I did present it 🙂
The truth or not the truth when dying
My mother suffered an un-diagnosed illness for a long time, left un-diagnosed due to negligence from her local GP, of whom fully admitted this when a final diagnosis was made, by which time too late.
She had cancer, riddled with it in fact.
But the bit that caused her pain was a tumour the size of a grapefuit sitting over her pelvis which caused her to be unable to eat properly, to control her bowels, to walk etc, pretty hideous really.
When I was told she initially had cancer they said six months, it turned out to be five weeks.
She went from a hospital to a hospice, they told me at the time to get her in to a fit state so that she could spend some time at home near her best friend. I was in fact moving home for her during this period to be nearer her friends.
I went about organizing for some disability items to be put in, ie changing the bath, shower etc. I spoke to this in passing to the nurses at the hospice. They pulled me aside and said with a kind yet reserved expression “don’t spend money on doing these things, your mother is not going to be leaving here I am afraid”.
They knew this all along, I did not, that was conversation No1 that will always stick in my head. Finality was on it’s way.
I never spoke to my mother about the fact she was dying, she never did to me, I never to her. There was always this air of optimism that life would continue and she would get to move house near to her friends which she had wished for such a long time, having been residing in a very secluded bungalow up on a hill.
You have to make these decisions as an only child, and it just became a ‘natural’ thing that we never spoke about it. When a doctor crudely started to talk in front of her about how much longer she had left, as if she was not there, I pulled him aside, to shield her from this news.
However, one day the nurses took me aside, they said “Justine, you need to allow your mother to let go, she is holding on to life because she worries about you, worries whether you will be alright. You need to let her know that you will manage that you will be happy, tell her it is alright to go”.
I hesitated, my mind whirling because we had never discussed this, I didn’t want to talk about it, it seemed wrong, but the nurses were telling me to.
So I walked in to the room, sat by her bed, held her hand. My whole head felt like it might burst, summoning the courage to say what I was going to say.
I said “mummy I want to talk to you, I want to tell you that you know I am going to be alright, you don’t need to worry about me, you don’t need to hold on, it is alright if you feel ready to go, let go”.
She became quite animated and lucid in this conversation, turning towards me saying “I don’t understand Justine, what are you talking about, go where?”
It was at that point I felt sick and thought, who am I to ruin her happiness or disillusioned self. Why should I let her lie there knowing she is dying if she does not know. Why can’t she lie there thinking she will get better yet die peacefully, yet it was not peaceful at the end of the day. But what right do I have right now to burst her bubble, what does she have, not much, she might lie there having good thoughts, drug induced perhaps, but thoughts about seeing friends, anything, who am I to ruin that with reality.
I backtracked, swept the conversation away, I cried heartily later with guilt for what I had nearly done.
She died, we never spoke about it, not even right at the end, this is how it was.
Thank you for reading what is quite an emotional subject matter as you might imagine.
What would you have done?
© Justine @ Eclecticodsnsods.com