Serena says why do I write about events ten years ago – the story of our family: not primarily the story of Bink Bonkers – when there is so much to tell about Bink’s illness here, today, now, right now, today.
Why? Because I am not used to blogging and there is part of me which believes one must reflect and think carefully before going public with something so personal and intimate and painful and… so, potentially… well: the story could go either way, couldn’t it? I try to be cheerful but it could end up a terrible car-crash of a story: this, Bink’s latest episode of treatment.
Surely I should make notes now and tell later?
That’s how I’ve always done it. That is the civilised, well-brought-up way to tell a tale. When you know the ending.
No, Serena says. Tell now. It is a blog. Let your readers experience it with you, now. As it is happening, in real time.
You don’t know the end, she says. Unlike what happened ten years ago, you don’t know whether it will end up a tragedy or a comedy. That’s how it should be for your readers, too.
And this is a story about Bink. Bink and her illness. Not all of us.
Which leaves me with a dilemma as to what to write for you in tomorrow’s and this week’s posts.
I am somewhat obliged to continue the story of a decade ago, because I’ve started and it wouldn’t be fair not to finish. I’ve told you about the letter Shaun received, accusing him of such things…
What do you do, with a trumped-up four-page accusation of Gross Misconduct staring you in the face, along with the ruin of all your family? Including, but not only, Bink.
Nevertheless, Sundays’ posts have always been about today. Now.
This is what it is like, today.
I can’t walk properly. I shuffle, like someone nearly twice my age. As described in my diary of ten years ago, trapped in that little cottage. But much worse, sometimes, now. And more frequently. Or so it seems, today.
I limp very heavily on one leg, though there is no physical pain. And nothing wrong with my leg. Either of them. I have no idea even which leg it’s supposed to be. My impression is that it’s always the same limp, the same leg, but since it’s psychosomatic – since there is nothing physically wrong with me – why should it be?
My father’s carer last week asked me, Is it arthritis? Arthritis?!
No – though thank you for asking – of course it isn’t arthritis! It’s depression, I told her.
Though it isn’t that either. This isn’t depression. I don’t use the word depression, any more. Like stress. That is another catch-all meaninglessness. I’ve heard both used too much, over the last twenty years, for either to mean anything any more.
There is heartbreak. There are all sorts of things. There is just being completely and utterly and almost totally crushed by life. Not depression.
But I use the word now, for my father’s carer, because right here in the moment I can’t think how else to describe it in everyday language, without a long explanation. “Depression” is easier. It does the job.
We had colleagues of Shaun’s here for dinner. A few nights ago. It was all a few nights ago, now. I made myself all write this at the time, because Serena told me to.
And my sister’s family. They came to visit my father. He is probably dying. It was right and good that they came.
And I could barely speak. I was hostess to twelve people and could hardly talk. Hardly shuffle back into the room with the pot of coffee. In my pyjamas because I could no longer face the world clothed.
I ache all over though there is nothing wrong with my body. There is no actual physical pain. And yet I ache all over.
Even my sister says she is worried about me. Nobody is ever worried about me. I am the one member of the family who is never ill. I am the one who keeps everyone else going.
Have you seen a doctor, she says. I don’t even have the strength to laugh. I don’t have the energy to tell her there is nothing wrong with me. Let alone what a doctor might do to me. With their blasted pills.
Nothing, except what is happening to Bink.
Robin is back. That’s all that is the matter with me.
Robin is back.
You don’t even know who Robin is because I haven’t yet got to that part of the story. And I don’t have the wherewithal to tell you. At the moment.
But Serena says I must take you with me on today’s story. Here. Now.
And today’s story is that Robin is back.
And that is why I can’t walk.
(This is the picture I wanted to share for today’s post, but so far have been unable to trace who owns it. If anyone recognises it and can tell me so I can ask permission to use it – or take it down if the photographer would prefer – I would be most grateful. Robin Fighting. I’m not a good enough photographer to take a picture like this. Or any, of a robin, though one visits my bird table. I’m not a photographer at all. All I can do is tell you that this is what happened in our lives.
This is Robin.)