Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Being Caught Unawares



In just a few days we have celebrated Mothering Sunday and Sorrel's birthday.
It's kind of " mother" overload, which is strange as my own mother died back in 2002.
Last night we all flopped in the living room to watch tv after a rather impressive meal out at the Chester  Grosvenor. The channel 4 documentary 24 Hours In A&E was on which proved to be somewhat of a busman's holiday for me and a rather gruesome spectacle for Sorrel.

One story featured a " before and after" moment with a prickly and somewhat lonely old lady called Wendy who had shattered her ankle after falling at home.

She was feisty, opinionated bordering on rude, brittle and at times incredibly vulnerable as we watched her negotiate the frightening world of being a patient.
Dovetailing the shots of her medical care, we got to glimpse the " real"  Wendy. Her hair brushed up and back, a neat little pullover covering thin shoulders, she talked about her previous two husbands with a mixture of righteous indignation and sad regret and tempered this with the brittle repartee so evident in her casualty clips.
It was clear that she had probably given the producers a run for their money.

It struck me that I was, in fact, looking at my mother, and immediately I told The Prof and Sorrel so for the similarity between Wendy and my mother was so striking that I was amused, and suddenly rather moved by it all.
I had literally seen a ghost and although I made light of the programme, and the similarities between Wendy and my mother, I found myself turning my head away from the rest of the living room............... with my eyes gently stinging.



43 comments:

  1. I guess it is good that after fifteen years, the appearance of Wendy in this programme re-ignited old feelings of grief. They never entirely leave us do they?

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    1. I loved my mother but never really liked her very much

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  2. Hugs.
    We never get over it, just find a way to (mostly) live with it.

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  3. I found Wendy's story very moving and complex. When she was on the gas and air giggly and smiley it felt like looking through the window to a younger happier Wendy.
    I was also impressed how the male nurse seemed to get beyond her prickly barrier and nursed her with respect and kindness.
    YP is right about grief.

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    1. I was watching it in bed, and she woke me up and made me really pay attention. I thought she was the sort of lady that you would have a laugh with if you were sat at a bus stop together....

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  4. I call that being haunted. The power of good narrative, be it text or video, is to catch our emotions off guard, to touch us deep within.

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  5. They do come back and haunt you sometimes, but not in the way you might expect.

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    1. Being bitch slapped from the grave

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    2. Upwards, on the arse.

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  6. I agree both about the grief and the haunting, for lack of a better word. Sometimes it is better just to let yourself cry when the tears come...Mine always happen on my mother's birthday.

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  7. The strongest person can at times be vulnerable. I remember an acquaintance who was hospitalised. He was a shadow of his former self. It had to be pointed out to hospital staff that he was a very vital and active person as they were prepared to dismiss him as 'dying' of old age. He was far from that. Slapping innumerable nicotine patches on him once they were told he was a heavy smoker brought him back to life and he lived for another decade.

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  8. That connection with our parents, whether good or bad, is always with us.

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  9. What an intense few days, no wonder your eyes were stinging

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  10. Saw that programme - she was certainly a character.
    Mum died over ten years ago, but I still do a double-take if I see a grey-haired old lady of similar stature wearing a red jacket.
    Wonder if that will ever wear off?

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  11. I think we all have those memories brought forth by a face in the crowd...it makes us stop in time and go back thru so many emotions.

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    1. It is an incredibly surreal experience when it happens. First time I saw someone that reminded me of my mother I was almost in shock. Makes you miss them all over again.

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    2. I glanced in the mirror last week and saw my mother. It was a strange feeling that took my breath away.

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  12. I was with my mother the moment she died; something I'll never forget.

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    1. Your mother was lucky, and I suppose happy, to have had you at her side.

      There are two, and only two, downsides to being a mother. Namely, that you can't comfort your child in the aftermath of your own hopping the Jordan; the other that you won't be there to hold their hand when their time (at an old age) comes.

      U

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    2. Hopefully, if you've done your job right and good, they'll find the strength required to get them through, sad as it will be for them and when their time comes, they will have someone equally significant to them to hold their hand. That's what I hope for mine anyway.

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  13. My mother dropped dead in front of me one morning. I couldn't grieve for her at all though. Already chief carer for Dad (dementia), I had to carry on as 'normal'.

    After Dad died, I was so emotionally repressed, I didn't think anything could get through to me. Then one day, I saw an old lady, in the supermarket; the spitting image of Mum. I burst into tears, ran out of the shop, and cried all the way home. Catharsis at last.

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    1. Like i said before i didnt really lke my mother strange how things can catch you out

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  14. I've learned the hard way that you may learn to live with the loss of a loved one, but you never get over it. Never. I volunteer at a Veteran's Hospital on Sundays. There are some patients with whom I immediately feel a rush of empathy. I don't know what it is, their manner, their experiences, their present situation or any combination of these. There was one patient, Jim, a Korean War veteran. We would practice hymns and sing together during services. Jim died right before Christmas. I shed my tears and lifted up my head and did what needed to be done next. As I watched another patient wheel himself out of the chapel last week, he reminded me of Jim. This past Sunday, driving to the hospital, I had thoughts of Jim. He knew I had been skipping services lately. I bring as many patients as I can to the service, but I leave the chapel to relax for a couple minutes before services end and I have to take the patients to the next activity and round up others who want to attend. My eyes welled up as I thought about Jim and I made him a promise that I would start attending services again, and would sing like we had sung together. What was Jim telling me, to carry on, to find solace and peace in the chapel, to spend my time in better pursuits and being a better person? All of the above? Ok Jim, message received.

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    1. Thank you for your honest comment x

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  15. I kind of wish I could have seen it. (I'm in the wrong part of the world.) Am imagining being in her place ...

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  16. Just another reason I don't watch hospital shows on tv!

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  17. Aeschylus called it the pain that never sleeps.

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  19. “I had literally seen a ghost...” A very dear old woman, a big part of my early childhood, died. It was her time, God rest her soul. But I was sad. Some 5 years later her grandson, a dear friend of mine even still after all these years, invited me to their family farm for a casual occasion. When I walked into the farm house there sat the daughter, my friend's aunt. I nearly collapsed on the spot. I hadn't seen the woman in many years and she was not only looked the carbon copy of her mother, when she spoke the sound and inflection was identical. Yes, I had literally seen a ghost.

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    1. Ghosts take you by surprise.....

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  21. Stuff like that always hits close to home.

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  22. I think Wendy was putting on a brave front. Her injury was shocking with her bone protruding. I bet she cries quietly to herself. I think most of us have had a 'Wendy' in our lives.

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  23. An emotional moment, for sure ... no matter what the emotion was ...

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  24. Mom passed in 2002 and dad in 2005......all I have to do is SAY 'mom and dad' and my eyes fill.

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  25. Other commenters have said it, and said it well for most part. A side comment:
    Shouldn't that woman be smiling with that N2/O2 inhaler?
    Cheers,
    Mike

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  26. I both loved and liked my mother--and yet my oldest brother never quite clicked with her. Life is curious.

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  27. My mom's been gone a little over two years and I would give anything for a glimpse of a ghost of her. Of her six children, I guess I was the closest to her and yet she lived 1500 miles away in Colorado with my sister who verbally abused her. It makes me so sad to know that her final months were not happy.

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  28. It's so unsettling to have someone brought back out of your memories like that, especially when some of those memories are better left alone. My father was of "a type," (a bit Robert DeNiro, Rudy Giuliani, some film mafiosi). There's nothing heart-warming about those reminders.

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  29. I also noticed how the male nurse gentled her and I could see she trusted and liked him. My mum was feisty and at times a bit rude, but she was also caring, kind and very loving. She would have made those 'smart and sharp' replies that Wendy made. Two men had loved her one had lost her and the other man she had lost. God love her. Love Andie xx

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  30. I have seen a couple of older gentlemen, with shocks of white hair, in the last two years and a lump has caught in my throat and my eyes have stung, they so resembled my late dad.

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