Tuesday, 13 August 2019
The Ghost in the Machine
A couple of times a week I call my mum to have a ‘chat’. For the last year or so this has consisted of one of the carers holding the phone to her ear while I keep up a cheery monologue, switching between German and English. A strange one-sided conversation in which I repeat the same things and make short inane statements about how well and happy we all are. I can do this without even thinking now, chattering away brightly whilst trying to bath my youngest son or make dinner. Yesterday on autopilot I nearly dropped the phone when suddenly as clear as day I hear ‘ Susie?’, and not a hesitant or half spoken slurred old person mumble, but a strong and totally unmistakeably confident and curious voice.
Yes?! Yes, mum, its me!
My mind is racing. She’s there! This is my chance, maybe my last chance, to talk, to converse, with my mother.
Mum! How are you? Are you happy?
Like trying to reach a drowning person or shouting down a well, I try to cram in everything before it’s too late. Just to hold onto the fact she understands me, she is responding, she can hear me through the fog. Maybe She can answer all my questions, give me comfort, listen to my dilemmas and have pride in my achievements.
But it’s already too late. The curtain falls sharply.
Goodbye. Was that me or her? Or us. The line has gone dead.