wings and things


Me: Today is the last day of the month you died five years ago and, once again, I am pretending to talk to you when I am actually just talking to myself. I know that, Ants. I am not delusional.

Anthony: Jules! I wish I could help you, but I can’t! You have to get your strength back so you can be the grandmama you want to be. Get help, get therapy, but, above all, love who you are because you are already so bloody amazing. Stop beating yourself up for not being the best mother, wife, mother-in-law, daughter, sister.

Me: These are the sorts of conversations I miss most, Ants, because you always came up with profundities that defied your dementia diagnosis.

Anthony: I love you, Jules.

Me: I love you. Ants.



Me: Yesterday marks the fifth anniversary of your death, Ants.

Anthony: I’m not oblivious to that fact, Jules.

Me: I didn’t have a good day, actually. I visited a friend, took my mother to an appointment and then came home. I had been invited by one of my best friends, who just lives up the road, to come to hers if I needed a shoulder, but I decided to just stay home and be miserable.

Anthony: Silly girl!

Me: That night you died, so suddenly, she let me stay at hers and I’ll never forget it.

Anthony: Jules?

Me: Yes?

Anthony: It’s five years, we have our first, brand new, perfect grandchild, and you are sad? Pull yourself together!

Me: Well, logically speaking, you are right of course! In the same month you died, our grandchild is born so this gives August a totally new meaning for me.

Anthony: So, get on with it, Jules! You are now ‘Grandmama’!

Me: I just wish so much you could see her, Ants!

Anthony: I am looking at her right now, Jules. She’s the spitting image of Ming but she seems to have her beautiful mother’s dark hair.

Me: So are you sort of like an angel now, Ants?

Anthony: I just checked under my arms and, unfortunately, I don’t have my white wings yet.

Me: Why do you turn everything into a joke?

Anthony: You are far too serious, Jules.

Me: Oh! Okay.

Anthony: Let me go.


You are a grandpapa, Ants!

Anthony: Yes, Jules, I know!

Me: So where is the enthusiasm?

Anthony: How many exclamation marks do you want? I was there and I watched it all and it was awful but also magnificent; she is amazing.

Me: Who? The baby or Benita?

Anthony: Well, I was actually referring to Benita.

Me: I wish you were here to see your first grandchild, Ants – it’s almost like a feeling of yearning!

Anthony: Yes, well, you are very good at yearning, Jules.

Me: Oh! Sorry about that.

Anthony: Your mother and I share certain characteristics except that I am dead and she is alive.

Me: What do you mean?

Anthony: Meg and I actually contributed to the production of this child. In our different ways, of course, from a distance – genetically, I mean….

Me: Ahhh, yes, of course but why are you being so clinical?

Anthony: Because I wish I could be there to hug Ming.


I found the missing post!

Me: Tomorrow will be the first day of the fifth August that I have lived without you, Anthony. During each of the previous Augusts I have succumbed to uncontrollable, mostly private (but sometimes public) bouts of grief, anxiety and despair. This time, I have decided to approach August differently.

Anthony: I’m so sorry, Jules, for everything: for getting sick, for being such a burden, for dying.

Me: No need to apologize, silly! You couldn’t help it, you didn’t deserve it, and you were absolutely heroic during your last few years of coping with being so ill. You never complained – you were amazing!

Anthony: Loving you was the best experience of my life, Jules.

Me: Remember that phase when you said you loved me but you weren’t ‘in love’ with me?

Anthony: I was an absolute fool. I was always in love with you, from the moment I saw your freckled faced grin; I just didn’t/couldn’t ….

Me: Yeah, I get it and it’s fine – I was just a naive 18-year-old and I didn’t understand that swooshing feeling either. Anyway, as usual, it is so good talking with you that I have lost my point!

Anthony: August.

Me: Oh yes. Well, the whole idea of August has totally changed for me/for us because in around a week, you and I will be grandparents.

Anthony: I’m omniscient now, Jules, so I already know that.

Me: But don’t you see how this changes everything about August?

Anthony: Yes, of course I do, but do tell. You are much more eloquent.

Me: You died in August and yet your grandchild will be born in August – your first and only grandchild (so far), so this has totally somersaulted August for me.

Anthony: I remember one of your favourite words was ‘transmogrify’: is that what you mean?

Me: Yes! The transmogrification of August!

Anthony: So what are you doing about the despair/anxiety/grief etc.?

Me: Replacing all of that with anticipation, joy, hope, love etc.

Anthony: Have you been watching Dr Phil?

Me: Well, yes, sometimes – why?

Anthony: Well, we watch that show sometimes up here in heaven.

Me: OMG your sarcasm is NOT funny! I love you so much, Ants.

Anthony: You’re not bad yourself, Jules. Maybe the youngies should call the kid “August”.