This time last year, I was worried. I’d been ill since the new year with, what the nurse would later call, an extremely powerful virus. The symptoms were flu like with an awful cough that simply refused to go away. After three weeks in bed, I managed to get myself to the sofa where I spent another two weeks before going to see the aforementioned nurse. This last brought on by real concerns that there didn’t seem to be any improvement in my condition and that I wouldn’t get any better. Fortunately, from then on, things did improve although it would be another month before I managed to get out for a run. So, the personal history lesson over, why am I writing this?
Well, largely because when I experience illness, my thoughts are directed to the feeling, at the time, that I won’t ever get any better. More than that, that things will actually get much worse. Now, I’ve had enough therapy to understand the reasoning behind those feelings but, at the time, that doesn’t make them any less real. The memories that generate those feelings remain powerful. And, today is about memories of sad events. Now the problem with any memories is that as we get older, they become less accessible. We know that they’re there but instead of the thoughts, a “vacant” sign appears; not, of course, entirely coincidental. In my particular instance, the whole thing compounded by the fact that the events themselves are related to a particular time of the year. Dreary winter months that resonate down the years. So today is the day to remember the nearest person to a sister that I have, my cousin Rose, whose birthday it is and who died just before Xmas three years ago. To Doreen, her mum, who, along with her husband, Bill, rescued me and who died at the beginning of February in 1998. To Nancy, Gaynor’s mum, whose birthday was yesterday and who died in November six years ago and to my mum whose birthday was also just before Xmas over 100 years ago and who died in November 1947. Four woman whose effect on my life I treasure along with, of course, the ones who are still here. You know who you are but thanks anyway.