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15 February 2011


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What a gentle and reflective piece of writing. Such a good thing that you have recognised that you actually need to take it easy. So often we don't. The symptoms you describe are also very similar to a state of grief I experienced last year after the death of someone I had been very close to. I simply had not recognised it as such.

Here's hoping that the next few weeks will be restorative and kind).

Oh poor you all that and toothache too! Lovely account of your grandmother and T S Eliot and convalescence. As another long ago recoverer from my own Massive Inconvenience, I do agree with Random Distractions comment. I do hope though you begin to feel more robust very soon, and, in the mean time, are able to bring Cliftonville to you? Lots of gentle books, treats, fresh flowers and glasses of your favourite tipple perhaps? And something to do with your hands? I found knitting drove me distracted enough to have me longing to walk a dog!

Identify with so much of this - even down to loosing teeth! Sending you warm healing and soothing vibes, and hoping it doesn't drag you down too far.

I think Colleen isn't far from the truth - we do grieve after such encounters with mortality, and the realisation of our own frailty.

Thinking of you x

Thank you for such a poignant post. I think it best that we all slow down and take care of ourselves without feeling guilty. I do hope you feel better soon!

The winter must end soon and then you'll be able to relax in your beautiful garden. Not quite Cliftonville Promenade but just as good for a convalescent, I'm sure.

M xx

You are so good at pieces that read like a stream of consciousness, taking the reader effortlessly on a delightful journey of allusions and images. Much cleverer than it looks (which is a compliment!). Goodness, though, your paragraph about feeling vulnerable, and needing to withdraw from all but the most sympathetic of companions: that really struck a chord in me. That is how I felt for most of last year following my brain injury. Lying on the sofa ignoring the chores can be terribly frustrating, but you are so right to recognise that it is what you need at the moment. You've taken a real battering and good old-fashioned convalescence is exactly what is required. Both convalescence and (as Colleen has suggested) mourning seem to be out of fashion in our hurried world - but our bodies and souls still need them at certain times.

Oh, certainly you are convalescing and convalescence cannot be rushed. You must take your time to recuperate and not feel guilty at all!

I had an Inconvenience of my own, not perhaps quite so massive as yours, but it shook me, and I think some of the recovery from such things is emotional and not physical at all. Long after I'd healed (as much as I was going to) I felt very vulnerable and uncertain. I have regained quite a lot of my savoir-faire and in fact gained more zest for life than I had had before!

I loved the John Betjeman poem. So gentle and so true. It is the small things that are worth fighting for.

Interesting that you are choosier about the company you keep now that you are recovering from illness. It does take energy to cope with difficult personalities and rather than having lost your confidence, perhaps it is a matter of physical and mental strength that is lacking? I think whenever our resources are diminished we become more selective and that's a good thing. Hopefully as your strength returns you'll be more able to face the 'outside world'. I'm impressed you still manage your long dog walks. Cliftonville sounds very interesting. Must remember to see it if we ever find ourselves in that part of the country. It's not very likely, but one never knows. Keep on taking good care of yourself! The housework can wait...

I am so grateful, as always, for your thoughtful comments - it always feels like a conversation, not simply a blog. But I apologise for taking so long to acknowledge your supportive words.

I am certainly feeling better than when I wrote the post - there will be a blogpost to prove it a little later today - although I recognise that there are 'miles to go' yet. However, I didn't want to write anything new without first saying 'thank you' to everyone.

Your strength and guidance comes from there, your Granny would be proud.

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Thought for life

  • The House of Breath, William Goyen
    We are the carriers of lives and legends - who knows the unseen frescoes on the private walls of the skull?

Thinking about . . .

  • Daniel Klein, Travels with Epicurus
    I too listen to music more and more. Throughout my life, music has stirred me more than any other art form, and now, in old age, I find myself listening to it almost every evening, usually alone, for hours at a time.
  • Julia Blackburn, Thin Paths
    I began writing because I liked to write things down. I learnt foreign languages because they seemed to enter my head by a process of osmosis.
  • Joan Bakewell, Stop the Clocks
    I live contentedly alone. It's better that way and I am often thoughtful about what has been and what might have been. There are many like me.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Oh to be reborn within the pages of a book.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Why is it that we lose the things we love, and things cavalier cling to us and will be the measure of our worth after we’re gone?
  • Judith Kerr, Observer Magazine, 22 November 2015
    I don't believe in God. I find it much easier to believe in ancestors. I like to imagine they are pointing us in the right direction.

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