Three people I cared about died in August. A fit, active man of 70, whose heart gave out suddenly on his weekly cycle ride. A woman of 90 who’d wound down gradually but stayed active until her last weeks, when she died of cancer, peacefully at home surrounded by family. My father-in-law, experiencing various health setbacks and partial recoveries through his eighties, until he could take no more. I thought of them often as I read Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, an important, moving, challenging book on “illness, medicine and what matters in the end”. Read More →

The scrap of paper says Socks. It’s barely legible but my mother is delighted she’s succeeded in capturing a transient thought. A triumph, after a major debilitating stroke and a vast improvement on early attempts which neither of us could decipher.

I admired her tenacity in painfully, painstakingly learning to write again, but I wonder what she ‘d have thought about me sharing the story? A perfectionist, I suspect she’d hate me sharing her feeble, embarrassing (as she’d see it) script – which is why “socks” is in my own left-handed writing. Do I have the right to share such stories about my parents, particularly now they’re no longer alive?
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