2007 — 8 December: windy, cold, unsunny, wet Saturday

It's now 08:07, but a few minutes ago (and seated at the iMac under the study skylight listening to the rain [rather than at the other end at the XP machine, but also nearer to the radiator while listening to the rain]) I started this entry. Sadly, the Jobs' "Reality Distortion Field" effect must have cut in. I was able to download yesterday's entry from the server, save it under today's name, and edit it but, come time to publish from the iMac back to the server... nada, zip, nuffin'... it's lost in one of TextWrangler's "temp" folders somewhere on the iMac where CyberDuck is apparently too scared to look for it but Life is too damned short to waste time searching it out, hence the relocation to the PC, and the recreation thereon.

Not, as you can see, that it was any great loss. I think I shall go back to bed and read the paper with my cuppa!

I was told that there's a strike at the DWP. I don't know whether this is so, but I do know that the mysterious £10 payment they'd popped into my account with Christa's National Insurance number against it has now just as mysteriously disappeared again. So, assuming I can trust the DWP computers as much as I do those belonging to my online bank1 I've just slid down a cyberspatial snake back to Square One. Here's very much hoping the promised Bereavement Allowance doesn't suffer the same fate. (Perhaps it was a trial run?)


The word I've just (09:00 or so) shouted at the BBC Radio 3 newsreader. He'd just told the nation that "a survey" has shown that "the vast majority" of the UK's adult population are "ignorant of the facts" surrounding Christmas events such as the place of Jesus' birth.

August 2002
Christa's "dedicated" tree "sustificate" — thanks, guys!

And thank you, John and Jane,2 for what I'm sure will be a beautiful patio rose in months to come. I shall prune it carefully!

Sweet memories
August 2002

Next task: return Christa's driving licence3 to Swansea. Then it's definitely time (13:09) for a spot of lunch. Then wait to see if dear Mama remembers to ring me back; her memory is such that I'd better not hold my breath, methinks.

Well, it's now nearly 10:00 pm and she has not yet phoned back. So much for "this afternoon". I have to say, sorting through a poignant little pile of credit cards, store cards, a bus pass, and a clutch of flimsy paper receipts, let alone a small cache of loose change, is a horrible, sobering experience. And one that has required a couple of paper hankies to restore my ability to see clearly, I must admit. There are some aspects of this death-of-a-spouse business that are upsetting in a way that seems out of all reasonable proportion: these are just bits of paper and plastic, after all. But they are surprisingly powerful talismans, it is now apparent.

Time now 22:57 and I simply cannot bring myself to face thinking about what I want to say in the Book of Remembrance. I remember my Dad's entry, which was basically "Dearly loved, sadly missed". In fact, I think that's about on target.

Consoling thoughts?

I read the popular work of philosopher AC Grayling. While half-listening to the radio, my eyes caught a collection of his essays that I remembered touched on grief and loss. Dr Grayling also considers the topic of euthanasia which, I freely confess, is one I've thought about in recent months:

The agonies and indignities of hopeless illness might often be lessened by the love of companions and modern medicine. But if a person rationally chooses a quiet and painless death instead, to refuse him is not merely unjust but cruel. The debate over euthanasia has been won by the forces of sympathetic reason elsewhere... but in many places it remains obstructed by confused and misplaced beliefs about the "sanctity of life" — an example of the way inhumanity so often masquerades as piety. It is an oddity that those who invoke the sanctity of life are not as invariably opposed to war, arms manufacture and capital punishment as they are to euthanasia... A proper sense of what makes death good or bad has to include this premise: that the quality of life is the sacred thing, not its mere quantity.

AC Grayling in the essay "Suicide" in The Reason of Things

The emphasis above is mine, but I know a set of medical professionals locally who entirely agree with Dr G. As do I. And as did Christa.



1  Ooh look! Today's first joke!
2  Sorry about the rude word, Jane, but you did ask. You're right about not being able to add anything to what's already been said, of course — she was indeed very special. Tell you what: I'll overlook the spelling of "patio" if you won't mention that adjective...
3  Assuming I can find it, but not until I've scanned it for sentimental reasons. After all, it has her only endorsement on it — picked up in Northampton by doing 36mph under a speed camera's watchful lens as we returned from my Uncle John's funeral on the 26th March 2004 in her beloved BMW Mini Cooper S. I have to say all the other drivers seemed to be more than keeping up with us... And, of course, I now know from recent experience how incredibly slow 30mph can feel.