Memories Of My Mother – 4
October 9, 2012 in Memories Of My Mother
I’m a fucking mess today. My sleep patterns were screwed before she died. In the final weeks I’d begun just mirroring her own sleep patterns. She’d watch cable until 5am, then go to bed but never manage to sleep, so she’d get up about 6.30am and make some tea and sit in the kitchen, listening to the radio after feeding the cats. I’d be up with her, making her tea, filling her hot water bottles, feeding the cats if she didn’t feel up to it. Anyway – she’d go back to bed about 8am, sleep until 12 midday, go back to sleep about 4pm, awake at 6pm and that would be her, straight through to 5am again. I’m a fucking mess today because I’ve got the remnants of that sleep pattern, and I fucked up today by not managing to get to sleep until 11am, and I awoke at 4.20pm, missing the appointment to register her death.
I’ll call again tomorrow and make another appointment and apologise.
I mean – there’s no hurry, really. I’d just like to get it done.
It’s a very beautiful day here. I took more photographs. Of sunlight filtering through the trees and bushes in the garden. My bedroom window. I don’t fell very much like going out at all today, beauty be damned. I’m recoiling from life today.
A strange thing. Since last Friday afternoon – when she was admitted for a final time – there hasn’t been a single cat visitor to the kitchen window. She loved cats, which you maybe know already. As do I. And there’s always a small selection of local cats at the kitchen window here, looking for company, but more normally for some alfresco cat biscuits. There were three current regulars – Ghost Cat, Emma and Looks A Bit Like Jake. Not one of these cats have visited here since Friday afternoon. I recognised this last night. The Sunday after the Saturday she died, Henry was wandering about the garden – and my neighbour’s – howl-meowing at nothing. I opened up my window to see what was wrong, and there he was at the shed, walking and howl-meowing at nothing. Intermittently, he kept that up for about an hour. I could hear him. And see him. Was he telling the cat community the bad news?
Towards the end she couldn’t feed cats at the window. She would sit in the chair in the kitchen and notify me if anyone needed attention. One of the final times was the funniest – she had just taken her stomach medication and after it always needed to drink some tea to take the taste away. Final time, she noticed a cat – Emma – and shuffled through to my bedroom. She’d just taken her medication but hadn’t had time to take some tea to wash her mouth out, because she’d seen a cat at the window and that was more important. She opened my bedroom door and I turned around – she made what I can only describe as “Frankenstein’s monster” impression (arms raised, moaning, mouth closed) and “claw-hands”, miming two cat’s paws clawing at the window. There were no words spoken – her mime would be all that should alert me to the cat in need. I burst out laughing, and my laughing set her off, and she shuffled away to drink some tea while I poured some cat biscuits out for Emma. When she returned she told me that what she’d done was clearly the universal signal for a cat at a window.
I can see her do it now. Standing at my door.
Life was tough, and she wasn’t well, but we still laughed, and sometimes laughed a lot.