My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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by her bedside

I’ve discovered the hospital’s wifi, so am sitting by Mum’s bedside writing to you. Her IV machine is whirring, there are voices in the hall, the light is fading through the window. It was a perfect fall day, with a crisp, hard light. I came here in the morning, went back to her condo in the afternoon, had a long walk, and now am back. My main anxiety, beyond her health, is to get to the liquor store on the way home, before it closes. We’re out of red wine. We must never be out of wine.

Do is coming for supper again, and this time I have a treat – she asked about a box of letters Mum had somewhere, from their parents, and I said I’d never seen or heard of it. Well, I found it, with lots of other letters – from Mum’s lover and her husband and from Do herself. It’ll be fun to poke through that tonight.

“The Help” is heartfelt but deeply flawed – there are several basic premises at its heart which are impossible to believe. Too bad. But I’m enjoying it anyway – not great literature, but a great read. “There are some good-looking dames in this place,” Mum just said, after nurse Erin came and went. “It’s all very amusing,” she said when she woke up a few minutes later. And then back to sleep. When her eyes opened a few minutes ago, I told her she was sleeping quite a lot. “Yes. It’s delicious,” she said, and her eyes closed again.

I’m so glad it’s delicious. She has always been a champion sleeper. Unlike her daughter, son and grandson.

Yesterday my brother and I went to see our lawyer, a marvellously calm and even man, just to touch base about where Mum is now and what should happen next. I was told recently that the people who cause you difficulty are there to teach you a lesson. So I can testify that in Ottawa I’m in a Ph.D course.

“Shall we have a cup of tea or a beer?” says Mum.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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