Gradual Fossilization

Monday 17th July § Leave a comment

Granny Marge

Over the last three days Granny has hardly eaten. She’s drifting in and out of sleep, often residing in a semi-stupor with lidded eyes. She’s so weak and thin. The skin clings to her bones where fat and muscle should smooth over. Her back hunches unnaturally where the bones of her back have collapsed as if she might sprout wings. She still manages to joke and smile, but almost as soon as you stop talking to her she begins to fade again into a groggy state.

I saw her last night, propped up in bed with a purple pilllow. Dad was telling her how much better she looked and congratulating her on having eaten four quarters of buttered and de-crusted sliced white bread. Every swallow was an effort, sometimes pausing mid chew for as long as half a minute as if her brain has forgotten to keep sending out messages. Dad used a garishly coloured plastic mini-fan to cool her face, holding it close, fluttered her hair.

Aunt Val described the beliefs of a South American pre-Inca peoples who live in the Andes. They believe that there is no moment of death, but instead as a person approaches death the soul of the person wants to return to the land and slowly their spirit slows down to match the soul-speed of the land. At some point the body stops breathing, but the spirit of the person still inhabits the landscape. The body slowly turns to stone and the soul is set free.

Today an ambulance came to take Granny Marge into hospital. It sounds terrible, but I fear it’s a one way journey. Just maybe she has one last surprising recovery left in her.


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