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Feeling the love

August 31, 2011

Today I realised just how much The Spaniard means, not just to me, but to other people.

I had a lunch meeting with a colleague I’ve known for a few years now, a lovely but with gruff tendencies, chap originally from Manchester now from Nottingham. He drove all the way over to Cambridge to talk about work and life and was so gentle and kind in the way he talked about the baby and taking care of myself and so on it really touched me.

I left the pub feeling very contented and came home to my desk at Mother’s house … she too had been out for lunch. Her lunch was sadder than mine.

When I was at primary school she had two very close friends. The three of them were different to other mothers; intrepid, academic, adventurous and well travelled. They referred to themselves as the Thee Musketeers and used to go out in the evenings from time to time or for walks, to plays, to the coast, for lunch and so on. They met about 40 years ago …

Now one of the Musketeers (the youngest – lets call her Porthos) has Alzheimer’s and breast cancer and is in a care home … she’s battled through the last few years but now seems to be being swamped by her illness and by morphine. Mummy and Athos went to visit her today and poor Porthos can no longer speak … but she knew they were there and she smiled and made sounds and held hands. She listened …

… Aramis and Athos chatted away about the weather, their children and The Spaniard. They left sunflowers and a large dahlia for Porthos and after an hour or so headed out to have lunch and reflect on how it was when they were three.

Then they came home to see me and have a cup of tea (see left … Athos in white, Aramis in red) …

They were both so sad about their comrade and dear friend… but talk of The Spaniard and looking through the NHS purple baby book bought back their usual good cheer and when Athos left to go home she was very emotional about the importance of the small Spaniard and gave no end of instruction on looking after myself and my “bump” (first time anyone has used that phrase about my tummy so far!!).

It really struck me how important it is for Mummy to have a grand child near by … someone she can share stories of with her friends and a little person to keep them all looking forward… the third generation to continue the connections.
I came inside when Mummy – sorry Aramis – took Athos home after tea and checked my emails.

There was an email from a fairly new ‘colleague’ who I spent time with at the wedding in Wye the other week. She is young, beautiful and inspiring and had taken the time to read these muddle worded pages and gave me a lovely compliment, “what you write really resonates, I am on the journey too, now. I have another reason to look forward to winter!”

So in very different ways The Spaniard has touched these three lives today and that made me happy. Thank you to Pete, to Rosemary and Gwen for caring and of course to wonderful Aramis … my mother … if I can be even a tiny bit like her I won’t make a bad mum.

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