Just a few brief words from me tonight.
Celia and I went to the Forward Prize Poetry event at the Southbank. Dannie Abse, who I fell for like a ton of bricks at the start of the year at the TS Eliot Prize event, was one of the judges.
Dannie died on Sunday.
Today has been tearful. Even when I haven’t been crying, I’ve felt as though I am. I can’t say it’s acceptance, more acknowledgement of defeat. We can’t win this one. There’s only one outcome, and though I can’t wish for Mother to continue a slow decline into unknowing dementia, the prospect of her death fills me with a howling animal sadness and powerlessness. I want to hide her from it, shield her with my own body, keep her safe and protected, stop death in its tracks by the power of my will.
She has done it so many times before. She has spent her life proving doctors wrong. As a newborn, she was sickly, and so was baptised at home because she was not expected to survive. We have saluted her, grinned at each other when she has once again deflected death, marvelled proudly at this tiny indomitable figure and her tenacity for life. But of course that can’t go on for ever. Even Mother can’t survive the continued onslaughts of old age and illness.