Z takes Z by surprise

I’m spending less on most things except food, so there’s money to spare for extras. That’s going in two directions: good causes and local businesses. I’m choosing a couple of charities a week and also buying expansively from companies that are doing their best to keep going in difficult times. At this time of year, it includes plant nurseries, whose voices light up now when they hear me on the phone. It’s – send me £40sworth of bedding plants, a dozen pelargoniums, compost, this, that, t’other… and you’ve got my address from last time. And -ooh, I like the sound of your houseplant offer, please send me £20sworth of your choice. I’ve just put in an order to the local brewery – very local, young Andy was at school with Ronan – and I’ve spent more on beer than I thought I’d do without treating a pubful.

I find, on the whole, that I alternate up and down days. I’m fairly gung ho about the downs. Yesterday was one of them, so I proposed opening a bottle of prosecco at lunchtime. It helped but I dipped later and had to spend the rest of the day pretending to myself that I wasn’t miserable. But I’ve been okay today and there’s no reason for any of it.

My mother was ill for several years before she died, which I’ve never written about because I haven’t wanted to relive it. But she did have good times and she’d become very hopeful, followed by massive despondency when she wasn’t well again. Being annoyingly sensible, I recognised that she tended to rush out and overdo it on the good days and exhausted herself and, also, that there’s a natural ebb and flow about these things. So I advocated taking the situation day by day. Appreciate what you have today but don’t make an assumption about tomorrow or, conversely, recognise that this day will pass and tomorrow will be better. But she resisted. She had to hope the good day would lead to a bright future – and that she was disappointed came as a fresh shock each time.

She did appreciate the good days in the end, once she’d been diagnosed with a terminal illness, but when palliative care gave her amazingly good apparent health for a while. She enjoyed those last six months so much, just as they were. After she died, I was very low for several years and, on my way back up, I found that I had to appreciate every single thing that gave me joy. Blogging, which I started during this time, helped so much and is probably part of the reason I’m so attached to it, when many people just remember it nostalgically.

As so often, i had no idea I was going to write this when I started. I thought I was writing about the garden. Another time, darlings.

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