domingo, 26 de febrero de 2012


It’s habitual for my friends to ask how Thelma is. It’s habitual for me to cradle her in my arms as I drink my first cup of tea in the morning. It’s habitual for me to hasten home at the end of the day so that I can kneel before Thelma and bury my face in her soft warm fur. It’s habitual for me to snuggle down under the quilt every evening with Thelma and open my book to the sound of her accelerated purring. It’s habitual for me to lose my gaze in hers seeking the wisdom in her eyes. It’s habitual for me nuzzle Thelma’s left ear gently and delight in her creamy chocolate aroma. It’s habitual for me to compare the way she drapes herself over my arm to liquid velvet. It’s habitual for me to wince with pain when I note that her arthritic limp has become more acute. It’s habitual for my stomach to lurch when I see Thelma stumble into a table leg because her sight has failed her. It’s habitual for me to bite my lip when I see her strain to use bowels that have seized up with age. These are the habits of 19 years and six months.
Thelma’s life on this earth ended on the morning of Thursday 23rd February at 9.10. Those habits that have become second nature to me will not die with her. Time, months, maybe years may have to pass before I stop listening for the click of her nails as she crosses the floor or stop seeking cream-coloured cat hairs to pluck from my jumper. Now I dread not finding evidence of her presence in my life. No cat food, no cat litter, no insistent meowing, no arrangements to be made for cat sitters when I go on holiday. No responsibilities and no unconditional love. No other relationship in my life has lasted this long. Now I feel bereft without it. Without her.
Numerous are the lessons she taught me. Insights I gained into myself through the love that grew up between us were not always pleasing but they were the most valuable. Yet Thelma’s most precious gift to me was her death. I was privileged to be with her during the final hours of her life. All through the night I cradled her with me in bed as her suffering became more intense. BY 5.00 am I could no longer cling to any hope that she might pull through. That was when Thelma gathered what strength she had left and buried her head deep in my neck. It was a final embrace.
I never had the opportunity to embrace my mother and tell her how much I loved her before she died. Thelma gave me that chance. With the strongest possible love and the deepest sorrow I said goodbye to her. I said the words but I can’t let go of nineteen years with words. Only grief in the days and weeks to come will teach me what they mean, what the loss of Thelma means.
This is my final blog posting. I leave Tarragona and return home to Belfast in a few days time. I’d been wondering how to say farewell to my life in this city. Thelma has done it for me. The tragedy of her death is so final, so definitive that I feel I must go. It’s not just the end of Tarragona; it’s the end of an era in my life. What will happen next or how long “next” will last, I am not sure. What I am sure of is that I can no longer reach out and touch unconditional love when I need it. That is going to be the hardest part.

1 comentario:

Douglas dijo...

Is it going to be habitual for you to continue your blog from Belfast?