___WORDS FROM ME_____________________________________


It’s been a while and things have happened. My mum passed away last October, from a particularly nasty kind of cancer. Her last years weren’t easy, but she pushed on with her life as best she could, until she couldn’t any more. I looked after her, with help from my partner, as best I could, while also juggling the needs of my father, who through that period became more and more stroke- and dementia-stricken.

My mum refused help from the medical profession in terms of palliative care, until she couldn’t any more, and even then only accepted it with her amusing and at times frustrating stubbornness. But it was her way, and at such times in a person’s life they have to be who they are; it’s the last thing they have to their name. It has to be honoured. So that last summer was warm and difficult, but there was laughter along the way too.

In September, my mum went into Kirkwood Hospice, at first to give me some respite at the suggestion of the wonderful out-patient palliative care nurse, but then, as her situation worsened, to die. There are so many things I could write about that experience, but I won’t. Not here, not now. I’ll just say thank you to all of the people there who helped her, who made the best of the worst situation for her. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

After my mum passed away, my dad, in the throes of a deep and painful grief, suffered another stroke. His recovery from it has been slow and hard, and he has needed near constant care from me. These six months later, he is better than he was, but has suffered another “step down” in his cognitive functioning that I doubt will be restored. Whilst his personality – often cantankerous, to be polite! – is still intact, he is floundering and increasingly lost.

There was an article in New Scientist last year, about the latest thinking of cognition and awareness, the mysteries of what is self and what consciousness might be. A metaphor for it struck me. Our minds are the focal point of a forest of countless mirrors, an indefinable point of being, impossible to grasp and hold, but nevertheless there. I feel for my dad, and all others suffering dementia. Somewhere a mirror is tarnished, a fog clouding slivered glass, and the focal point slips. And as more mirrors crack or topple or go blank, the self finds itself lost in a bewildering array of memories and reflections, and, seeking meaning and determination, wanders, goes deeper into a wilderness of sensation and being. My only hope is that, somewhere in the crossed light, he can find a sort of peace.

He needs help, and it’s not easy, and my patience often slips (especially when he guzzles another cigarette – as a lifelong non-smoker and major objector to the “habit”, it has given me no satisfaction to effectively have lost both parents to the weed), but he’s still my dad, and so I take a breath, reset my thinking, and do my best for him.

You’ll understand, then, why I haven’t been keeping this irregular blog a little more updated than I otherwise would have liked to. But there are plenty of things to talk about, and I’ll do so soon, when I can and with pleasure. But indulge me a little more, please, and let me end on this:

My dad’s fading but here with me in the flesh, and needs my time. I haven’t properly had a chance to grieve for my mum, and the suggestion from people who have been through similar experiences suggests I won’t until my dad is gone too. But when I think of my mum now, it’s her laugh that comes to mind, and I see her smiling in memory. That comes first, before the sadness of her loss – my sadness, my loss – and it counts for so much.

paperbacks online

And finally, as promised, a couple of links to the online stores stocking the paperback of No Fire Without Smoke.

Here's the UK Amazon link.

Here's the USA Amazon link.

Here's the Australian Amazon link.

And here we have the Canadian Amazon link.

(Though, somewhat perversely, the first edition hardcover is still available, and cheaper, on the Canadian site right now. So if you want a copy, click here.)

I thank you.

no fire without smoke paperback cover

New Year, new book.

Well, not exactly. But close. New year, new version of old book. That might be closer to the truth. 

Although its official release date was January first of this year, the large print paperback of NO FIRE WITHOUT SMOKE hasn't really filtered through to the online stores as yet. As soon as it does, I'll mention it on here. But, I do have my author copies, and so I have an image of the paperback to share with you.  Here we are.

Cool, huh?

a little bite of christmas

Season's greetings, one and all.
Yup. It's that time of the year, folks, when I get to remind you that in the Free Fiction section of this blog you can read a short Chrismas story . . . For Free!

I know, I'm so giving . . .

It's called "Christmas Calories", and you can get to it easily by clicking Here.

Merry Christmas, "Ho, ho, ho," and all of that.


© M P Lynch. Powered by Blogger.

©Mark Patrick Lynch 2012-2020

Created by Silver Moose Designs