6 months, 11 days

It has been a very long day, but persevere with this blog I must as I continue to need that daily connection to the outside world. I was up at 7 o’clock this morning for the first time in months, as I would be meeting C at London Bridge station just over an hour later, for our second trip to the South Coast in the space of a week. His friend is still dying and I couldn’t think of any reason not to go down there again. Although last week was pretty emotional, I believe I got a lot out of it, not least because C and his friend would have been appreciative of my company. So we got to the nursing home by lunchtime and C’s friend seemed better than last week. He was talking a bit more and he seemed livelier in general. I don’t know if it’s because we caught him on a good day, or just because his condition is improving. That said, he still isn’t in a good state and it has been confirmed that he hasn’t got long left in this world.

I realised straight away that I wasn’t anxious about being there today. I felt more comfortable; I could even say a few words of comfort to the guy, which I couldn’t last week. I didn’t wake up this morning with that instinctual jolt of fear that I get most days. Going to see a dying person isn’t exactly fun and last week I was very nervous about the prospect – I made myself go for C’s sake because he wouldn’t have asked me if he didn’t need me with him. This week, I felt different. I was grateful today for this miraculous progress that I seem to have made in the space of a week. For once, I wasn’t worried about embarrassing myself in some unexpected way, I simply went into the situation and dealt with things as they came up. As it turned out, there wasn’t much to deal with. C’s friend had fallen asleep by the time we left after a couple of hours. It was a peaceful, calm two hours.

We were out a lot earlier this week, meaning we had the rest of the day to play with as we wished. We decided to head to the nearby city of Brighton, a locality that we both love dearly. I have many fond memories of Brighton, as does C. I’ve been there many times over the years, especially in recent years when I’ve gone on gay parades with friends there every summer. Brighton is like London by the sea. It has a lot of significance in the gay community.

When we got there it was still quite sunny so we decided to go for a walk by the sea before dinner. It was windy and cold, but the views were beautiful. After dinner we attended a meeting in the middle of town that C had been to a few times before during previous visits to the area. I didn’t find it immediately appealing; the room was too cold and they insisted on turning off all the lights, leaving only a few candles lit in the corners, meaning that I nearly fell asleep halfway through the hour (I was exhausted from the long day by this point). A lot of the sharing only half made sense to me. I think I was just too tired to listen properly. But I know the chair was good; she talked of being a classic binge-drinking student type, which I definitely was for a long time.

The train journey back to London was fast and effortless. C had suggested that I tell my mum honestly about my day out, as it’s not something I normally do. I’d previous told him about my untalkative relationship with my mother, and I think it worries him that I have friends (such as him) who know more about my life than she does. To be honest, it’s started to worry me as well. I’ve always known that I don’t talk to my mum about anything – it used to make me very angry with her. I thought it was her fault for not ‘understanding’ me. Recently I’ve begun to question what the problem really is, and in all honesty, I don’t know why it’s always been this way. It’s been so long since I talked to my mum about anything, I have no idea whether she understands me or not. She probably doesn’t understand me, but that’s probably because I haven’t told her about things.

The only really serious conversation we ever had happened when I was around twelve years old; I asked her why my father had never been there, at which she burst into tears. It became clear to me then that she couldn’t cope with serious stuff so I’ve gradually given less and less away to her over the years. I’ve deliberately kept all my problems away from home, which has inadvertently made being at home a problem in itself, because I can’t possibly be honest or be myself here.

Our relationship isn’t going to change overnight, but tonight I thought it might be worth taking the first tentative step towards change. I told her where I had been, who I had been to see and why. It wasn’t a long conversation; her interested reaction was enough for me. I was actually nervous about that conversation – silly, I know! Considering how well it went, I’m sure there’s potential for more like it in the future. My mother may never know the most intimate details of my problems, but just to be able to come home and talk about myself without worrying what she’s thinking would be nice occasionally. Today has kind of proved that the problem was always in my head. She didn’t bite my head off for talking about myself – she seemed genuinely interested in what I had been up to. God, I can’t believe this has become such an issue. It would be terrible if I left home and became a stranger to her – the truth is, that could easily happen if I don’t start putting the effort in now to change things.

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One thought on “6 months, 11 days

  1. re: C’s friend; Visiting a dying man is a task that most of us would shy away from. But for those of us who do make the effort, the rewards – for both parties – are tremendous. Some consider it a sacred experience. Maybe the clarity and calm this has brought you is a pointer to a future career direction when you graduate.

    ‘As we help, so we are helped’.

    re: Mum; ‘it would be terrible if I left home and became a stranger to her’. Maybe you already did the latter without the former. Well done for starting to bring her back into your world.

    Be wonderful.

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