Dying

Saturday 5 May, 2001

06.30 E&M 100 mins. Dad phoned to say that Gran was still in hospital and not doing very well. He has not been doing very well either – his health has suffered since his mum collapsed. I debated whether or not to go and see him. Seven days ago I had written this:

Phoned dad. His mum is in hospital again. Apparently she collapsed at home and was out for 14 hours. As we talked, I felt nothing, as if it would make no difference to me whether she lived or died. I did not feel cold-hearted but I did not feel compassionate either. I felt neutral. Moreover, my neutrality didn’t bother me.

I wasn’t sure but really, in my heart of hearts, there was no decision to make. Dev dropped me off. It was a beautiful sunny day and my time with dad was both enjoyable and easy. We went to the hospital to see Gran. On the way, my aunt tried to mother me by warning me that Gran is very ill, as if I should prepare myself for a horrifying sight. When we arrived I saw nothing more horrifying than an old women in a bed.

She smiled when she saw me and I when looked upon her frail figure I felt no concern for her health and thought only that she cannot lose – if she pulls through then she may get to celebrate her 90th birthday in July, and if she doesn’t then she gets to leave this planet for a better place. It is those who are left behind who suffer, if they choose to do so. (Aubrey echoed this sentiment in the evening as he passed through on his way to care for his own grandmother who has needed constant attention for the last 15 years.)

At the hospital I noticed a stark difference between the male and female wards. The women’s section was well attended with visitors, whereas the men’s had no visitors, yet all the patients seemed quite content watching the snooker on the telly. So much so that I had the feeling that any visitors would be unwelcome because the enjoyment of watching sport would be disturbed. But maybe that’s just me.


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