I see sunflowers everywhere - in supermarkets, in gardens, by the side of the road, in allotments. In the absence of the ones which would have been on our allotment I'm posting these - taken in the Cevennes region of the South of France
in June 2010 where we were doing a writing course. Hard to imagine such a thing now.
All day I manage.
I keep it together
I discuss the merits of slippery sheets
for Robin's bed
with two Occupational Therapists
who come this morning
and watch as he manoeuvres himself in and out of bed.
He grunts and slips and slides.
We abandon the sheets.
Dear friend arrives
drives off with Robin.
Cleaner sparkles the house
while I complete tax returns and
I make avocado cheese salad lunch while Robin sleeps
in not slippery sheets.
In the supermarket he wheels the trolley round the isles
while I pick
asparagus and razor blades and Greek yoghurt off the shelves.
Half way through my list he says,
I want to sit in the car.
I abandon the trolley, take him to the car
leave him with Classic FM playing on the radio
and rush back to retrieve and finish the shopping.
We visit dear friend for a cup of tea
and Robin eats three of her very nice biscuits
even though they aren't soft.
I want to stay in her bright company
but Robin nudges me to go.
We drive miles through steep and twisty country lanes
tiny glimpses of summer fields and sheep
beyond high hedges.
I'm still keeping it together.
At home Robin sleeps
I write emails,
eat a packet of crisps and start making supper
Then I lose it.
A misunderstanding with someone unravels me.
I'm so sure I'm right.
I'd go to the stake on it,
as my mother used to say.
Although we all knew she was mistaken.
And it turns out I was wrong. Mistaken.
But in the middle of trying to sort it out
Robin chokes on his supper.
I don't blame him -
a rather over cooked veggie sausage
and baked beans and broccoli
and hummus to stick it together.
Like the shopping trolley, I abandon it and feed him a bowl of
mashed banana and black cherry yoghurt instead.
Then I go back to sorting out my mistake
and apologise a lot in long texts.
But I'm afraid I've done damage.
Being stressed and burdened is no excuse.
All this time I'm trying to watch the final of Celebrity Masterchef
but like the shopping and the burnt sausage I abandon it.
And continue to sort out my mess.
I can't stomach my supper and eat another packet of crisps instead.
Robin thinks it's his fault that I'm irritable and crying and impatient with him.
Even though I keep telling him it's my mess and nothing to do with him.
And I catch the end of the final cook-off. The Greek did great.
Tomorrow I'll put myself back together
When I'm not so tired.
Re-launch myself into the tasks of the day.
And I'll manage because I know that the wound of a mistake can heal in time.
And it's me I need to love, to forgive, to say sorry to...
October Sunflowers in New York in 2010.
PS As we are going to visit Robin's family next week I will be back here next Tuesday.