Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Maudlin on New Years Eve.

New Year's Eve.........a time for looking back and also of looking forward.
Long gone are the days of just living for the moment on a New Year's Eve. Things were tamer but more fun and more loving in those days. People went dancing - groups of us as teenagers; later young couples with young children would arrange family get togethers. It's different now - we are all older and don't feel fully a part of this modern world. We remember the days when you didn't need money to celebrate and have a good time.....well, not as much as these days.
Two million they are spending on fireworks in London tonight - two million for hundreds of thousands of people to stand out in the rain just so they can boast that they were there; fearing that they might be missing out by not being there.
Yes - bet the fireworks are impressive and yes actually I would love to be a part of something this new year's eve.
But I am not - so nothing cheery and fun to write about.
Nothing cheery and fun in my heart either.
I can look back on a dramatic year in some ways - ways in which the family has changed.
The challenges that Clare have taken on warm my heart.
The challenges that I have here at home scare me.
How can I look forward to 2014?
Watching and experiencing Bill slipping into dementia has been bad enough. There have been good times - I damn well make sure that life continues to bring me good experiences, and hopefully Bill too. Though he does forget where he has been.
But as the year closes I am sad and anxious.
I am not coping well with this childlike Bill. I love children and have always managed to form strong bonds with them - but I love those with enquiring minds and some confidence.
The "child" I am living with has almost no interest in the world around him.
His brain seems almost dead sometimes.
He fills his days with noise - which amuses him.
And sends me into deep annoyance and sadness.
I end up relieved that he chooses to go to bed so early.
I am trying not to pin too many hopes on the appointment with the psychiatrist. I fear that I might be let down......and there are still 23 frustrating more days.
If this doctor can offer no improvement, the only alternative is that things will get worse.
I cannot yet imagine our situation this time next year.
Will I be visiting my husband in a nursing home out of duty? Will he still be here at home and gradually grinding down my spirit?
Illness and death I can understand......but this? No......it is beyond reason.
I thank all of the good people out there who offer me words of support and love. I need you people to make me feel alive.
So I look ahead into a black tunnel.......I pray for the strength to make it the best black tunnel that it possibly can be; it should be a tunnel with offshoots that will take me into little episodes of pleasure - maybe even some exciting times. But tonight I see only the blackness......black had better be my favourite colour.

Better perhaps to look back tonight.
It wasn't something celebrated in financially strapped English homes when I was a child.
As children we would love saying little things like "I haven't had a bath since last year!".
On the first New Years Eve I celebrated with Bill we were dancing with some of his cycling club friends at a Crawley factory dance. I felt very grown up. I was 18.
When I was 20 we went to a dinner and dance on our own in East Grinstead - it was to be the night we would get engaged. But we shied away from needing a formal setting and I had the ring a couple of days before the 31st.
I guess from that time on for many years we would be at Bill's parents house on New Years Eve with his uncles and aunts and all the brothers and sisters.....and gradually their spouses and all the children that came along. Everybody liked an excuse for a drink or two or three. It was noisy, chaotic and fun.
Another New Years Eve involved fireworks.......maybe the first time anybody had them on that night in these parts.
We had a group of young German family friends staying with us. I don't know how they managed through customs - but fireworks came through with them.
We had dinner and then did fortune telling with some metal charms which melted easily and set into shapes which would tell what would come your way in the new year. And then at midnight we were in the front garden with fireworks. We kept the tradition going until it became common place.
We have had a New Years Eve with our good friends, Pete and Jean in North Wales.
We saw in the New Millennium at Bill's sister Jane's house - a good family party.
Another I remember is 2007 - my bladder cancer was developing and giving me hell. I tried to sleep -  but after midnight, got up up to find Bill watching Jules Holland's Hootenanny on TV and being mesmerised by Amy Winehouse - Back to Black.
But I didn't feel as black on that night as I do tonight. I felt sure that all would be well - in the end. It took over a year - but all was well.

And now I take you back 60 years.....to a New Year's Eve I was not part of.
There must have been a bit of a celebration in the village hall. It was not for children.
Mum must have stayed home too.
But Dad went for he had a role to play.

Dad was the Old Year - Old Father Time.
On the stroke of midnight he carried in the New Year - in the shape of a school friend, Valerie Cooper.
Ooh miserable child that I was - I hated her for it!
She was so pretty and had this starring role at an adult event at midnight..

Right - sorry to be so maudlin' tonight.
It's the nature of the night I guess.
Tomorrow is another day - another rainy day, I fear. But I must get out somewhere.
I just heard my first firework of the night........there will be many more at midnight.
Happy new year to everybody. No doubt it will have the same sort of ups and downs as any other year.
I'll go on trying to see my life through the ups......that's my resolution. And like most resolutions there will be many a time when I fail.
But I can and will do the very best I can for both Bill and me.