My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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You know me, fountain of cheer. Grateful, positive, la di da. However. Occasionally not so perky, like right now. It makes no sense to be sick as a dog right now, in early July, but there you go – throat like a cheese grater, head like a pumpkin, voice like Tallulah Bankhead. Somehow I taught 3 classes this week with raspy voice, the last one just now – luckily my home group, dear friends who have been through this with me before.

My shrink, who as I mentioned, perhaps, has returned from Montreal and whom I am seeing for a bit, thinks being sick right now has something to do with all the stress of the past year – a birth, a death, an operation, the upheavals of my kids and my own life – and now the trip to Ottawa, where I’m supposed to fly tomorrow. And perhaps she’s right. My friend Chris thinks I’m sick because of lack of sleep. Chris has no truck with shrinks. But, I asked him – why am I not sleeping?

My mother had many flaws, but one of her greatest gifts was hostessing. She always made her guests feel welcome and honoured, was at the door or out in the hall to greet me when I arrived, and there was always homemade soup or cake, the table set, the kettle on for tea, a pot of fresh flowers. My bed made up and ready. And her area of great concern – that there was coffee for my breakfast. She didn’t drink coffee, but made sure it was in the cupboard for me. After her death, she was not there but her apartment was; during my stays, I was surrounded still by her essence – her dishes and table and duvet, her furniture and art.

Tomorrow she will not be there, and neither will her apartment. I am going to stay in an Airbnb room in someone’s house near her condo, for $45 a night. They wrote to say they wouldn’t be in, the key would be hidden in the garage and bits of paper would tell me where to go. They don’t drink coffee so they told me to bring my own. Auntie Do will be glad to see me, I’m sure, but she is watching Wimbledon on the TV in her bedroom, and isn’t sure she wants to go anywhere because it’ll be muggy. My brother and family are busy; perhaps we’ll have a visit Sunday.

There will be a very big hole.

Well at least Paul McCartney will be happy to see me!

Perhaps, too, the work on the memoir is dredging up stuff and making it hard to sleep. Who knows? If I’m still feeling like this tomorrow morning, I’ll postpone the trip for a day. No point inflicting my germs on others. But what I need to look at is what comes next, what I must do when I get back home. Which is, absolutely nothing. I have a daytimer of nearly blank pages – the garden workshop, some editing for private students, and my own work. For two months. I will not get sick again this summer.

Went to see the surgeon this morning, and had the bandage off. There’s a lumpy white scar on my neck, above the collar bone. I wore scarves all day, though I’m sure no one’s really aware of it but me. But it’s my first scar. At least, that you can see. That I can see.

My shrink thinks I have not yet mourned my mother. And I think that she is right.



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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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