Things That Make Me Stupidly Happy

– The ongoing tolerance of my friends. Actually, that’s more a sense of relief than happiness, most days, but it makes me happy, too.

– Pictures of kittens. Or puppies. Or practically any baby mammal. And some reptiles, now that I think of it.

– The real thing ain’t so bad, either. Am I the only person out there who thinks baby crocodiles are adorable?

– Good chocolate. Really, really good chocolate.

– Reading silly feel-good stories in the media about good Samaritans, selfless actions, etc, etc. (Watching Doctor Who counts, btw…)

– Big squooshy hugs. Ideally from the aforementioned friends.

– Laughter that isn’t at someone else’s expense – except maybe my own.

– Ripe peaches. Really. For sheer innocent-yet-sybaritic pleasure, you can’t beat a fresh, ripe peach.

– Outrageous flattery (I’m only human!)

– A well-fitted bra (see above)

– A proper soak in a hot bath/tub, which translates to a potential risk of drowning, particularly when one includes a good book, a cup of tea and various other distractions. Worth it, though…

I Haven’t Got A Witty Title For This One, Sorry.

I’m in an unusually good mood, today, so I’m going to indulge in the back-handed sort of irony of which we Brits (and expat Brits) are all too fond and finally write the complete downer of an entry that has been on my mind for quite a while.

When my mother died, she went quite peacefully. I had been with her for the past month, helping my father and my auntie look after her.

(Parenthentical note: anyone who thinks “Big Pharma” is evil has never taken a loved one through hospice. I would write a thank-you note to the inventors of liquid morphine, were it possible.)

Mum had spent the day saying goodbye to everyone – in that deeply saddening ‘gone already’ sort of way, not Little Home on The Prarie Heartwarming way – and the hospice caregiver warned us that Susan would go within a few hours.

Auntie, Popster and I went to our respective beds to try to get some sleep. I didn’t bother undressing, to be honest. Three hours later, the caregiver woke us up. At the time, I didn’t have a chance to wonder how the caregiver knew, but a large part of the reason that she was there was because she had been through this – lots of times – whereas my family were having to make it up as we went along.

In the end, it was all very quiet. She was unconcious, but breathing, and then… not.

I thought that, as such things go, that was about as good as it could be.

Fast forward four and a half years, and I’m faced with my husband, Alex, going through a similar situation. The cancer had gotten it’s “A” game on, thrown off the shackles of chemotherapy and had, eventually, spread from its point of origin to his liver, lungs, spine and throat. Continue reading