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Saturday, 22 August 2009

Life is fragile

It has been a strange day for me - I have been having weird dreams ever since I returned from Lundy with somewhat restless nights, and last night was no exception. I have also been waking up earlier and earlier each day, and when I do awake I have not felt refreshed, but extraordinarily tired. It is true that I have had a lot to deal with these past two weeks - and especially this week, with the village newsletter to prepare (it is finally done), but this is no ordinary tiredness, it feels like something much deeper.

I had the strangest day at work - I put down not one, but two pairs of rubber gloves while I moved my cleaning gear, mop and bucket from room to room, and one point also managed to mislay the hoover - it eventually turned up in the same place I thought I had left it in, but I know it wasn't there when I looked the first time! Most strange. The head housekeeper and I had a good laugh about it nevertheless, and so did the chef.

Just after I returned from my tea break I was told that one of the residents had died. She had been ill for some time, and had only recently come out of hospital, so it was not unexpected, still I was surprised at my reaction. I did not know the lady well, since her room was upstairs and I work mostly downstairs, but it seems to have triggered something in me, and I am not sure what. It reminds me I suppose of my own mothers death, which will be ten years ago this November, but also how fragile life is. The nurses and care workers of course took it all in their stride, as they are trained to do, but I am not used to this aspect of the job, and I found it difficult to concentrate on my work.

The door to her room was kept closed until the Doctor came after his morning surgery, to certify the death, and then closed again until the funeral directors came to remove the body, which was just as I was leaving. I suppose her family will come in the next day or so to collect her personal effects, we will clean the room ready for the next resident, and the funeral will all be arranged.

When I left work to return home, after the funeral directors called, I mentally pictured her surrounded by light being welcomed into the loving arms of her deceased husband and other relatives. This is the second death at the home within the last month (one of the male residents died while I was on holiday), and as things normally go in threes, I can't help wondering who will be next. Banish that thought.

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