Saturday, January 19, 2013

Living in the NOW

I've always hated all those motivational books with NOW in the title.  All about living in the moment, spiritual enlightenment, blah blah - - in general, anything like that kind of stuff makes me very uneasy at best and very angry at worst.

From time to time, well-meaning people have always said to me that I should live more "in the moment" as they call it.  Then I feel a quiet smugness when, five minutes later, they ask whether I have some nail scissors/a towel/some tissues/a metal detector/a spare engine for their car - - and I produce the item from out of my capacious handbag.

I don't live "in the moment" and I don't rely on luck, or fate, or whatever to help me.  I just don't believe in them.  I believe in other people, though, of course, and they help me a lot.

I'm a planner, a preparer, a think-of-every-eventuality type.  What am I going to teach to the students?  Where are we going on holiday?  Always I look to the future and plan it as best as I can.

This is having to change, because of my Mum's illness.

She is terminally ill with a rather rare cancer - omental peritoneal cancer.  (Don't read the link if you're imaginative - the symptoms of it are common to many other conditions so it's quite scary!)

For once, I'm having to live "in the moment".  Every enjoyable conversation that I have with her, every pleasant visit (she lives next door) is suddenly there to be treasured.  Her gentleman friend is looking after her brilliantly, making her the foods she likes and filling the house with the flowers that she loves.

Because it's winter and there's snow, she isn't quite as furious as she might be that she can't go out gardening.  Because she has short-term memory loss (she's 88) she keeps momentarily forgetting all about the illness and just enjoying the present.

We are having lots of visitors - - all coming to see her, and that's great.  I'm not sure if she knows that some of the far-flung ones are coming to say goodbye.  My take on it is that if she asks any questions I will answer them honestly, though as kindly as I can.  If she doesn't ask, I won't make her discuss things.

I'm trying to enjoy the present too, and there are plenty of good things.  That was an interesting morning with medical students.  That was an enjoyable trip to Blackpool to work with doctors.  That was a good film.  Those highlights of Michael Parkinson's interviews were brilliant.  That was a really good pub meal with friends.

At the moment I feel I can't plan any trips away - - and planning holidays and little trips away has always one of my favourite things, so it's left me rather confused.

All my emotions are heightened - I find I laugh or cry even more easily than usual (and that's REALLY easily!)

I think it's probably good practice for me, this living-in-the-moment time, this there-is-only-NOW feeling.  I'm not used to it.  It's a very, very strange time.


Anonymous Jay at The Depp Effect said...

There's a lot to be said for living in the moment. Being forced to live in the moment, however, is not good at all. I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. She sounds such a dear, eccentric soul. I'm glad you're having time to be with her and enjoy her company though.

In a strange way I envy you, because my own mother was there one day, full of life and vitality (though disabled), and the next she was gone from us. She had a huge stroke and was left unable to move or communicate, and - I believe - blind, but not deaf. She lingered for five days like that, before succumbing to the inevitable. I wish I'd been able to say goodbye.

That doesn't detract from the pain you're going through, of course. It's different, but just as bad for you. :(

4:51 pm  
Blogger Ailbhe said...

Oh gosh. How weirdly impossible it seems.

9:55 pm  
Blogger Jennytc said...

Oh, I'm so sorry, Daphne - a very difficult time for you all but, as you say, the time you have with her now is to be treasured. She is so lucky to have you and, of course, her gentleman friend who sounds absolutely lovely.

9:33 am  
Blogger Kate said...

I'm thinking of you.
Imagining you completely in the now, enjoying one of your marvelous swims.

9:37 am  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

I read the news about your mum and your current emotionally heghtened life with much sympathy. To every time there is a season... And this is the long goodbye. Strangely, a time to treasure.

10:15 am  

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