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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

An empire of solitary abandonment

Today I arrived back home after a busy trip to Sydney during which me and my mother's housekeeper, who I'll call G, handed responsibility for mum's daily care over to a nursing home in the city's north. Coming back here I am filled with mixed emotions. I will  have to change my daily routine now. No more walking over to mum's at 4pm every evening to cook a hot dinner. No more eating fruit for breakfast at her house in the mornings. No more phone calls to make sure she eats lunch. Now, the nursing home will supply mum with her breakfast, lunch and dinner (there's supper also, if you want) and I will be obliged to make meals for myself, alone. I will also have to shop for food; previously G did that for us.

The mixed emotions stem partly from a general feeling of solitude. For the first time since arriving up here in Queensland I will be alone. It is true that after the first few months I lived alone in my own apartment, but mum's place was always just a short walk away - first down on the street by the estuary, and then later, when she moved house after the firey told her noone would be able to carry her down the stairs in case of a real fire, just down the street - so I could pop in any time if I had troubles that I wanted to talk about. Mum would always give me time by listening to me. Apart from this routine loneliness there's the matter of what mum has been saying to me since she moved into the nursing home. It is clear from what she has been saying that she would have preferred life to have continued exactly in the same manner as it has gone on for the past five-and-a-half years, with me and G looking after her needs and she pottering around her garden or sitting watching "something interesting" on the TV. So there's this feeling of guilt.

Combined, the loneliness and the guilt form a kind of spiritual compost in which a different species of thought grows. It's a kind of Robinson Crusoe empire of solitary abandonment that, in a way, matches the maritime theme you can see in the area surrounding my apartment. A relentless sun. Acres of untrodden sand. Swaying palm trees sussurating in the gentle nor-easter. I am the last of the tribe: dad died in March 2009, almost four years ago; mum has moved on to The Poplars in Sydney's leafy north. It's just me left alone to contemplate my sins in solitude. But it won't be for 100 years, it will only be for two months because in February I will be moving house back down to Sydney thus sealing off - in a circle like an omphalos - my fatal move north of 2009 when out of pity for mum, who had accidentally fallen over in a shopping centre parking lot and had broken her eye socket, I decided to relocate my household.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

a beautiful piece