jmgoyder

wings and things

Imagined conversation 45

Me: If you’d been a friend of yours, would you have visited yourself in the nursing home?

Anthony: No. I wouldn’t have bothered. I would have thought, poor old bloke doesn’t know what day it is.

Me: Okay so what if it had been me in the nursing home and our situations were somehow reversed?

Anthony: Ah, now that’s a tricky one. I probably would have visited once or twice then mostly avoided it. I know you hate this clich√©, Jules, but I would have wanted to remember the way you were.

Me: Yeah that was sort of Ming’s attitude to you and certainly that of many others I guess. I think once someone is in a nursing home the generalised perception is that they are the living dead.

Anthony: Not just the nursing home, Jules – don’t forget the Dementia.

Me: I thought you thought Dementia was a taboo word in our conversations!

Anthony: Not anymore – I actually find it quite fascinating to watch all of the replays of how it affected me. You have the patience of a saint.

Me: I couldn’t have put it better myself, Ants; anyone would think I was putting the words into your mouth.

Anthony: I can think for myself, Jules. Give me a bit of credit.

Me: You seem to be twirling the subject.

Anthony: Are you talking about the subject (topic) or the subject (self)?

Me: OMG, have you actually read my PhD thesis?

Anthony: Plenty of time in Heaven, so yes.

Me: You never bothered to read it on Earth!

Anthony: Hindsight.

Me: Duh. So what! I’ve had hindsight since before I was born!

Anthony: Actually, Jules, I don’t think that’s possible but I’ll check with my new mates who, by the way, think you are wonderful. In fact, we are using some of your material for our Hindsight workbook for the more elderly dead people.

Me: Oh, okay. You guys might need to use a different phrase to ‘dead people’ – just a suggestion.

Anthony: Noted.

Me: Ants? Sorry, but you sound like a secretary – you don’t sound like you anymore.

Anthony: Which ‘me’ do you mean? The sickly, deathly, demented but extremely witty, me, or the hunk you married?

Me: I’m not sure.

Anthony: I’ve evolved.

Me: I beg your pardon?

Anthony: If our situations were reversed and you had been in a nursing home for many years, I would visit you often.

Me: How often?

Anthony: Every few days..

Me: Why?

Anthony: Because I would want you to know how much I loved you.

Me: Sometimes I feel a physical tug of yearning to visit your nursing home, even though you aren’t there anymore. During a couple of my motorbike lessons, the instructor and I went past the nursing home and I almost lost my breath.

Anthony: Julie.

Me: What do you mean, ‘Julie’? You never call me that.

Anthony: I am trying to get your attention, Jules!

Me: That’s more like it.

Anthony: There is something that I want to say to you that you really need to hear.

Me: That sounds a bit ominous.

Anthony: THERE IS NO HURRY.

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Imagined conversation 37

Me: Well, you’ll be glad to know that this third bout of anxiety is nearly over. I’m going to tell you about it here because I don’t want to forget what it’s like.

Anthony: Why would you want to remember it?

Me: So I recognise it when it begins to happen rather than being all-consumed by the time I see a doctor.

Anthony: Is it my fault?

Me: Yes and no. It’s because I miss you so much but it doesn’t feel like that at all. It feels like a sense of urgency – constant and about everything – an urgency to clean the house, to socialise, to write the script, to get the motorbike licence, to train Pip as a therapy dog, to do my volunteer visits. Everything becomes such a matter of urgency that I become incapable of doing anything,

Anthony: I thought that was depression.

Me: This is on top of that – this is extreme anxiety, the kind that makes your heart beat super fast and your hands shake and fills you with a kind of flitter-flutter of frenetic energy that beats around inside you but renders you immobile. It’s the kind of fear where adrenaline doesn’t kick in so it’s implosive.

Anthony: So did you get some pills?

Me: Yes.

Anthony: And….?

Me: And now I can function again, I can appear to be okay and I can breathe properly. The good thing is I know I won’t need the pills for long, judging from the last two experiences.

Anthony: Well, take the pills as long as you like, Jules. Just take a break from all of those things you think you should be doing and just be.

Me: Yes I think that’s the key – just being. Without the mindrush. Remember how I used to confide in you about these issues?

Anthony: Yes, I married a complicated woman.

Me: Ha! And you are so uncomplicated. Even when you were so ill and incapacitated, you were like an anchor, a safe place, a solid certainty. Now that you’re dead, I sometimes flounder.

Anthony: You’ll find your feet again, Jules. You always do.

Me: I understand other people’s grief so much better now, Ants, especially the fear thing.

Anthony: Maybe there’s something you don’t realise, Jules.

Me: And what’s that, oh wise one?

Anthony: I miss you too.

 

 

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Imagined conversation 31

Me: I haven’t wanted to talk to you lately.

Anthony: I noticed.

Me: Ever since talking to the headstone people I just kind of wanted to run away from the situation.

Anthony: What situation?

Me: Your death.

Anthony: Oh, that – yes.

Me: I’ve gone past the nursing home a few times now, on my motorbike lessons, and it always gives me a bit of a jolt. I saw a photo of you and C. at the nursing home and it shocked me to know that was only months before you died. I keep wanting to see you; it’s horrible, like a yawn of yearning. I’m not trying to be poetic either – it feels like the middle of me is doing this yawwwwwwn thing all the time.

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Anthony: Am I boring you?

Me: Very funny, not. Not that kind of yawn – the kind where you need more oxygen. Isn’t that what a yawn is?

Anthony: [Silence]

Me: And then a gaspy thing happens and I can breathe again and then, finally, I can cry.

Anthony: Why do you want to cry?

Me: I don’t want to cry really but sometimes when I nearly cry and the tears don’t come I feel like forcing it.

Anthony: I’m listening.

Me: Other times one of your favourite songs comes on the car radio and crying just happens. It happened earlier today.

Anthony: I’m sorry I left you in the lurch, Jules.

Me: Sometimes I wish I hadn’t loved you so much. I let you mean too much, Ants – you had become my whole world. Maybe that wasn’t healthy, maybe that’s why I feel so lost now without you.

Anthony: Jules, do you realise what rubbish you are talking? Look at all of the things you are accomplishing now – the motorbike licence, the kayak lessons, the film script idea, helping Ming with his psychology diploma, the volunteering. You are not lost without me.

Me: I feel physically sick, like I am going to vomit, a lot of the time.

Anthony: But you’re free now, Jules. You should make the most of it.

Me: How? Anyway, I never wanted to be free of you!

Anthony: Never?

Me: Not once and I’m pretty sure I’m being honest here.

Anthony: I ended up needing you too much didn’t I.

Me: Sort of. Yeah, okay, I didn’t like that feeling of being so needed I guess.

Anthony: You just need to get your strength back, Jules. Do some aerobic exercise. It does wonders for the body and soul.

Me: WHAAT?

Anthony: Swimming, cycling – keep it up, Jules. Don’t give up – oh and the meditation is also useful.

Me: [Silence]

Anthony: I’ve shocked you, haven’t I.

Me: Yes! Are you being tongue-in-cheek or genuine? Meditation? I can’t believe that word actually came out of your cynical mouth.

Anthony: OM

Me: OM?

Anthony: Feeling better yet?

Me: Actually, yes.

Anthony: All right, so, whenever you don’t feel like talking to me, just OM me and I’ll OM you back.

Me: OM?

Anthony: OMMMMMMMMMM

Me: [Laughing]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Imagined conversation 25

Anthony: That was very funny.

Me: What was very funny?

Anthony: Your kayaking lesson today, with Ming.

Me: OMG were you watching? How embarrassing.

Anthony: Quite.

Me: The capsize?

Anthony: Is that what you call it?

Me: Yes, well another fear faced and conquered.

Anthony: You made it look so easy, Jules.

Me: Sarcasm just slides off your tongue doesn’t it, Ants.

Anthony: I’ve been busy perfecting the art.

Me: Did you see Ming do it too?

Anthony: His movements were much more fluid.

Me: But did you see when he accidentally fell in for the second time?

Anthony: Yes but I was mainly concentrating on your laughter.

Me: Oh?

Anthony: That was a beautiful thing to see – spectacular.

Me: Well, thanks, I think.

Anthony: It’s a long time since I’ve heard that guffaw of yours –¬† so raucous.

Me: Is that a good or a bad thing?

Anthony: It’s a great thing. You should do it more often.

Me: I can’t just conjure it up.

Ants: Yes you can. Remember the time you tried to get me to do aerobics with you to that Jane Fonda video?

Me (smiling): Oh yeah, you were so awkward.

Anthony: You thought it might stop the Parkinson’s in its tracks.

Me: Stupid idea and it didn’t work. Hey, but remember that time I fell in the duck pond? That’s what it felt like today.

Anthony: How could I forget?

Me: You were so unsympathetic.

Anthony: The look of shock on your face … priceless.

Me: The good old days.

Anthony: The good-to-remember old days.

Me: I’m going for my motor-bike licence next week.

Anthony: I know and I am trembling at the thought.

Me: You’re trembling! What do you think I’m doing?

Anthony: Quaking?

Me: Not sure why I took on these two new challenges simultaneously. I must be mad!

Anthony: My thoughts exactly, and Ming’s too I’ve noticed. And both of your instructors’.

Me: Common sense isn’t my forte.

Anthony: Neither is coordination. I heard what Ming said while you were driving to the river, by the way.

Me: He didn’t mean it, Ants. And, by the way, my coordination is improving!

Anthony: Yes he did and he’s right. I wasn’t exactly father of the century. I should have talked to him more, or listened.

Me: He just wishes he knew you when you were well. Some of the stories I tell about you, from before his time, he finds almost unbelievable.

Anthony: I liked what he said about me still being around through him.

Me: Yeah, it’s pretty disconcerting – his voice, mannerisms, gait, laugh; he’s like a clone of you!

Anthony: Is that a good or a bad thing?

Me: It’s a great thing! I just wish he remembered how you were before you got so ill.

Anthony: There are worse things. Anyway you’re doing a great job of giving him amazing memories for when you die.

Me: What? Don’t be so morbid!

Anthony: Like the vision of you capsizing in your kayak today. Unforgettable.

Me: Shut up.

Anthony: Just a thought.

Me: Argh!

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