Thursday, April 28, 2011

Going Over Home

Martha Byrne

28th July 1926 - 27th April 2011

I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger

Travelling through this world of woe
There is no sickness, toil nor danger
In that bright land to which I go
I'm going there to see my Father
And all my loved ones who've gone on
I'm just going over Jordan
I'm just going over home

I know dark clouds will gather 'round me
I know my way is hard and steep
But beauteous fields arise before me
Where God's redeemed their vigils keep
I'm going there to see my mother
She said she'd meet me when I come
So I'm just going over Jordan
I'm just going over home

Saturday, April 23, 2011

baby reared by wolves

baby reared by wolves, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Mama Wolf is so kind that she went to the Mace and bought her cub a yogurt. It made a refreshing change from morsels of raw rabbit.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another Normal Day

I woke just before 7am and decided not to get up. Immediately I fell into dreams. I dreamed that my mother was dying and that I held her in my arms and would not let her go. We lived in a succession of damp, dilapidated and tumbledown sheds and still I would not let her go. She got frailer and smaller and eventually she was as small as a baby. She was my baby, she was also another person called Shirley and still she was my mother. She was dying and I had to get her a coffin. She was small enough to fit in an infant's casket but I knew that because she had been a woman I needed to get her a woman-sized coffin.

These are the dreams I have without opiates. God only knows what Matty dreams. She told my sister, in one of her lucid moments, that it was like 'being in two places at once.'

Today was my Miss Martha day. We went to Matty's then out for a run with Great Aunt Ganching (with whom Miss Martha has become most enamoured). Next home to see Bert, a picnic on the lawn and a very relaxing afternoon with toys and pigs and dogs.

When Martha went home I spent a while watering the vegetables (this will be my role and it is a very important one) and then gathering sticks, a proper outdoor barbecue (no charcoal) and pork chops, spinach and baked potatoes for supper.

Another normal day. Tomorrow I go shopping for funeral clothes.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Off Out

Off out to Matty's house now for another day of nothing much. There will be phone calls and visitors and little walks and lots of talks.

Matty is full of dreams and is slowly, very slowly, slipping away from us.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Ha!

watching the monkeys, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Being Normal

We went to the zoo today, Martha and Hannah and Bert and I. And we had a most enjoyable day. Of course, like all right-thinking people, I'm in several minds about zoos - there are animals that seem to like it well enough and there are others that give me the impression that living in captivity isn't that great. The African wild dogs looked just like any depressed dog that has to live in a run. And the lowland gorillas looked as if their life was very dreary too. But Miss Martha knows nothing of these dilemmas and she mostly had a very good time. There was the problem of the hills that she kept wanting to run down and we kept not wanting her to for fear of falling over. There were still a few tumbles despite our best efforts. Sadly these occurred just around about the time we were seeing the ring-tailed lemurs which were my best thing. I loved it that they refused to be confined to their area and incorporated workmen's vans as a part of their territory. Big up to those workmen who were more than happy to share their van with their furry chums.

Part of our day out was in honour of Hannah who has a birthday tomorrow. Not a significant one as she's one year off that. But a birthday none the less. And Hannah, or Ha!, as Martha calls her, is a very good person to have around when Miss Martha is part of the company. Ha! has a certain energy and youthfulness that comes into good effect when Nellybert has a very energetic toddler to keep care of.

So. Being normal. A day at the zoo. Always in my mind when being normal is that Matty, the head of our family, our senior member is dying. And that her time on this earth is coming close, very close, to it's end. After our normal day out we called to the home place where Leitrim Sister, our Dee! is in charge and where Bert made Dee! a cup of tea and we talked with our Senior Martha and she was pleased to see us, particularly Miss Martha, and we relished it because soon, very soon she is going to be so preoccupied with her business of dying that she will not be able to welcome us like that.

But for now - being normal. It's the best we can do.

Bert and Martha at the Zoo

viewing penguins, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Garden Where The Praties Grow

Job done

Today was a good day and I started preparing for it yesterday when I persuaded Bert that he and I should begin our outdoor potato drills. He had many objections.

We haven't any seed.

We'll go and see Frank at Slemish Market Garden and buy some.

It's an awful lot of work for just the two of us.

And aren't we well able for it?

There was chat about leaving it to Monday but when the weather forecast was consulted I decided that it was Sunday or never.

We went to the Slemish Market Garden and were as impressed as always. I can't wait to sneak back another day and gather up some more perennials for my decorative garden. Not today though because we were in serious vegetable mode.

I had some misgivings myself at the start. It was a lot of work. But we got into it, not minding the dogs that were hanging around relaxing while we worked like dogs. There was rotavating, and dung spreading and dropping and earthing. Rachael turned up with an hour to spare and then there was a frenzy of dung spreading and spud dropping. Rachael works at a speed no ordinary mortal can compete with. After the potatoes she sowed beans in moments and then dashed off to pick up daughter from one place and husband another place.*

I've learned a lot from that girl. She believes in working hard and fast. From her example (and FlyLady) I have discovered that most dreary household tasks actually take tiny amounts of time to complete, compared to the amounts of time a person might put in atrophying in front of a computer screen. For example I have discovered that I can mop my scullery and hall in less than three minutes. Impressive? I certainly thought so.

So after around four hours we were able to look at what we had achieved and feel rather pleased with ourselves. Those potatoes are going to taste very good. The first ones ever in my life that will be seasoned with the memory-scent of well-rotted dung and fresh sweat.

As I said, it was a good day, one I was glad of. The day before was a good enough day too. I spent a good part of it with my mother. She had a big setback this week and is not the better of it yet, although she is better than she was at the start of the week. She has been in bed continuously all of last week, too weak to get up. Her urinary functions are not going well and she has a catheter fitted. She is rather confused but still knows who everyone is and knows what is going on. I'm afraid that she will not gain back the ground she has lost. But.... she is still Matty, she still gives her family, her carers and her visitors beautiful welcoming smiles and yesterday she put a bet on the Grand National and had fish and chips for her tea.

* the pub

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Turf Castles

turf castles, originally uploaded by NellyMoser.

Just a random picture from one of my favourite places on earth - the moss at Drumkeeran.

Monday, April 04, 2011

No Well

Like everyone else who can, I visit my mum on Mother's Day and yesterday was no exception. Just like always she was surrounded by cards and flowers and presents. Just like always the family living far away called to wish her happy Mother's Day. What was different yesterday was that Matty wasn't well enough to talk to her far away children nor was she able to take much interest in her cards or presents.

Matty has had a bit of a setback - another urinary tract infection and she couldn't get up today. The Doctor came, prescribed another course of antibiotics and said she should be feeling better in a few days.
Tricia and her little dog left this morning. Miss Macy was very excited to be going back to Kerry but my sister felt terrible about leaving. I watched her car until it was out of sight and I felt terribly sorry for her. All day the sight of Miss Macy's little basket has saddened me. I miss that little dog.

Usually, when I am here I feel fine. Today I feel lost and a bit scared. But maybe Doctor's right and in just a day or two Matty will be feeling much better.