Tag Archives: death

Aiding the Future Silent Killers

It’s Thursday morning and the house is bubbling with activity at seven o’clock. After six months of watching the early bird rise, eat his worm and fly home before anyone stirred in our house, this feels unnatural. It’s the first day of the autumn school term and we are all a bundle of nerves.

My son has packed and repacked his school bag over the weekend, checking his school list for any bits of stationery or equipment he might have missed. The school has been adamant in its correspondence: no equipment or stationery will be given or shared with students. They must ensure they carry what they need to avoid cross contamination. I put my coffee cup down to help him. He complains again that his tummy hurts. I know it’s the worry that he might forget something and get a detention, so I go over the prepared speech he should deliver in case of he forgets or can’t find his way to one of his classes. ‘Apologise first and ask for help. If they shout, explain you are anxious and it makes it hard for you to remember directions under duress.’ He gives me a look and tells me some of the adults he deals with don’t care. They are more concerned with moving crowds and settling the younger newcomers to the school. They won’t have time to deal with him. I give him a reassuring hug but we both know he has to grow up and just deal with getting lost in the new buildings they’ve erected during lockdown.

My daughter realises that she has not packed a mask yet and starts to panic because the only clean masks we have are the material masks with funny smiles printed across the front. She refuses to take one, breaking down into hysterics when I shout from the kitchen, where I’m dealing with her brother, that it doesn’t matter. It matters to her. It matters a lot. She doesn’t want to have a funny smile etched across her face for most of the day. She doesn’t want to be the odd one out. She’s going to be a senior and even though lockdown left her out of the social loop, she still had social media to contend with and that dictates what cool and what is not in the new accessory we carry with us just to breathe easier when we step outside into society.

I rummage through the tumble dryer, hoping the batch of masks we used over the weekend have somehow hitched a ride to the other side of the laundry. Yes! I’m in luck. Two plain black masks pop out and I silently cheer. She hugs me tight and the relief in her eyes speaks volumes.

Both children have survived lockdown without meeting up with friends or going out. Limited exposure to the outside world kept them safe. And us. Being high risk meant taking the warnings seriously and playing by the government rules. Not that it made a difference to their older siblings who pandered towards the conspiracy theories that Covid-19 was contrived, to downright refusing to stay boxed up for the summer. The division in our family life has been apparent. The younger two and ourselves now refer to our grouping as the ‘core four’, excluding the older siblings who shirked the responsibilities of helping us all stay safe. As the core four, we have watched the news and prayed for some miracle that would slow the spread of the virus down so that we wouldn’t be at risk. Now that it has, the return to the outside world feels daunting.

Time is ticking away. My daughter wants to leave. She’s promised her friends she would meet up with them and walk together to school. I mutter something about social distancing and she looks at me. We both know that, as much as the schools will try to keep their bubbles and make everyone wash their hands, stagger breaks and lunch times, and change school start times, the children will still congregate. After all, that is their culture. That is what they know. It takes years to change tradition and we are only at the beginning; the pioneers of a new world.

I go over the list with her again before hugging her and letting her go. The front door closes, trapping me inside and her out. She is now free to roam. My mind goes wild with the possibilities and scenarios she’s going to have to face over the next five hours. Before I know it, it’s time for my son to leave. He looks so small and vulnerable and his bag makes him hunch over. I offer him a ride to school which he gladly accepts.

The village High Street looks like an overpopulated anthill teeming with worker ants scurrying to and fro. They are wearing blue uniforms and carry handbags and satchels. Packed pavements spit out random bodies onto the road, slowing the traffic down to a crawl. The scent of perfume, deodorant and pheromones waft in through the open car window. I shut it quickly, switching to aircon. Our eyes absorb the sights and sounds of the morning traffic and I despair. Parents, children, bicycles and pushchairs fight for dominance on the narrow pathways. No one is wearing a face mask. No one remembers the death toll rising each day through April and May. They have forgotten the long days of looking out of windows, wondering if the lone stranger spotted stalking the empty streets was a carrier or victim. Now, they mix like a deadly cocktail, swirling the moisture carried on their breath through open, unprotected mouths and noses. Each one trying to reach their final destination: the local schools and businesses.

We drive to the bottom of the hill that leads to my son’s place of education. I park on the side of the road and let out a big sigh. He is clutching the back seat, excited to get going now that he sees familiar faces. My fear and anxiety release in a tirade of commands: keep away from them; don’t touch the handrails; don’t touch your face or chew on your pen; wash your hands at break and lunch; be safe!

I watch his receding figure as it gets swallowed up in the sea of blue churning at the school gates. The government promised us safety at school, better mental heath for the children and a return to normal routine to free parents to work. Doubts dance in my tummy and burn in my chest. Why do I feel like I’ve just sent my kids to a factory where they will be converted into ticking time bombs then sent home? Am I looking at my silent killers filling the streets and standing at the corner shop with their friends? I guess time will tell.

I am the virus

I am the virus.

I need to be contained.

My venom spreads with every word I say.

I am the virus.

I wish I was contained.

The spikes are taken out of the wheels and I’m definitely not sane.

I am the virus.

You’ll wish I was contained.

I’ll make your every word the last one in this endless game.

I was the virus.

I’m all alone.

Not that I regret your number calling on my phone.

I was the virus.

I followed your decree.

Now your head sits alone on my bare knee.

I am the virus

I am the virus.

I need to be contained.

My venom spreads with every word I say.

I am the virus.

I wish I was contained.

The spikes are taken out of the wheels and I’m definitely not sane.

I am the virus.

You’ll wish I was contained.

I’ll make your every word the last one in this endless game.

I was the virus.

I’m all alone.

Not that I regret your number calling on my phone.

I was the virus.

I followed your decree.

Now your head sits alone on my bare knee.

Saturday thoughts

It’s 5.54am and I’m wide awake. Continue reading

Tarzan

The house is still, no sounds to wake

The two-legged oafs

Who cried and moaned and quaked,

When sleeping is all the effort I’ll ever make. Continue reading

Saying Good-Bye

Last night, I had to say my last, I love you, and sing my last Goodnight song to another member of our family: Tarzan, our 17 year old cat.

Watching him suffer over the past few months meant it was a bittersweet moment when he closed his eyes for the last time and I held him in my arms, a moment that I barely managed to cope with. As I gulped down the lump in my throat and gently stroked his ragged fur, my children’s lives flashed before my eyes. This beautiful feline had filled their daily moments with such happy memories, memories which were coming to an end as the light dimmed in his eyes.

Darjeeling was no ordinary cat. He was run over in the first year of his life, was rushed to an unknown vet and disappeared from our lives for about three months. I still don’t know how I managed to track him down (he hadn’t even been chipped yet). I do know it took several phone calls and visits to shelters in different towns, RSPCA centres and endless calls to random cat people who knew someone who knew someone. In the end, I tracked him to a cat shelter in Twyford and sped off with my two babies in tow, determined to rescue my little Darjeeling cat.

He is the only cat I’ve ever met who could call both my Hubble and myself by name in a voice loud enough to wake our neighbours. Standing on the flat roof of our downstairs cloakroom, which was just below our bedroom window, he would call our names out to the stars until we woke and opened the window for him. If we didn’t wake in time, our neighbours would kindly inform us that he was calling all night long!

Fighting various common cat illnesses throughout his life, he managed to live up to the strength of his name – Tarzan – and was a legend in our family. He will be remembered for his love of climbing thin branches and swinging from them; giving us the stink eye when he wasn’t fed on time; and bravely staying with us through five house moves in his lifetime.

His final resting place, our dream home, will be a testament to his well-deserved rest after a very full life. To say we loved him would be an understatement. He was our cat legend, our sweet Darjeeling, our Tarzan.

Happy #Wensfriesday!

It’s time for a mid-week Friday treat. Continue reading

Christmas Without You

This is a poem I wrote the year my mum passed away. Even though Christmas has passed, I thought I would share it again as a special tribute to her, my little bird!


I tried to forget you yesterday
Pretended the day wasn’t about you
No celebration, no memorial or tasteful display
Just a drink and a quick prayer to chase out blues

Now the clock is ticking
Santa is drawing near
We’ve put up your Christmas decoration
Since you won’t be here

No struggling, cursing, crying
To get you through the door
And the happy sense of achievement
When your wheels touch the kitchen floor

We won’t choose the meal together
Since last year’s meal was your last
No fighting over whose house to visit
Now that you’re in the past

I’m going to try not to miss you
When I don’t see you sitting there
Children reaching to open their presents
They’ve kept back, so that moment, with you, they could share

Every minute of Christmas this year
Will breathe in for a new tradition
As you, dear Mum won’t be there
Since you’ve taken a life-long intermission.

The Cave

They say, running away from your problems solves nothing. Well, I love to be different! Continue reading

Monday Coffee

Hello and welcome home. The kettle is boiling and I’ve stacked up some delicious pastries for our coffee morning. Why not go on through to the living room and take a look at the Christmas tree.

After another weekend of sickness bugs and the flu doing its round in our home, I’m really looking forward to the final week of school. Not only will my work be winding down but this is my last week of uni studies too before the Christmas break.

How has your term been? Have you found an increase in sickness in your home around this time of year?

Those who follow me on Facebook will know that our family suffered a great loss three weeks ago, which I feel now contributes to the low mood in our household and the slow healing process. It has been difficult and sometimes involves heart-breaking chats about death with my youngest sprog who is still spiralling from the loss of his best friend – the four-legged kind.

Filling that cavernous hole left by our beloved dog, Henry, we’ve decided to fill our Christmas with little events that will pick up our spirits. Planning a special family dinner and prepping for our traditional bake-off on Christmas Eve seems to have helped and the promise of a new plan for the new year has the family focused towards the future.

What has caught us all by surprise are the cats – they’ve taken over the house! From sleeping in our bedroom to vocalising their every need, they’ve decided that us hoomans need to serve them and enjoy their presence in a way cats can only force you to endure. When they think we aren’t looking, they congregate on the landing and sit there like Stonehenge monoliths, silently engaging in cat conversations that end abruptly when they notice a hooman walking by. This circle of secret silence unnerves me and I do feel the balance of power slipping away from the two-legged members of the family! So, if you see little paws reaching for your knee, run!

On that note, I’d best let you escape our mad house before the cats rope you into cleaning their cat box of feeding them every few hours. Enjoy the festive season and do keep in touch.

Thanks for stopping by.