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Monday, 17 January 2011

Silver Linings Last Longer Than Clouds

I'm finally surfacing after flu has stamped its insidious footprints through our Christmas and New Year. My middle daughter has been hospitalised twice with pneumonia. She and I both rattle with antibiotics. The muscles between our ribs are in agony from being stretched by coughing. And my husband is suffering terribly from exhaustion, having made a thousand glasses of squash, dispensed a million painkillers and scraped countless uneaten meals into the bin. My daughter is tentatively trying a day at school today and I am hoping to write. I have missed it so much. I wrote a little last week whenever I had enough energy to sit upright. The week before that, I couldn't face my laptop at all. In fact, I couldn't believe I had ever really been a writer. My normal world felt alien. All I had was this horrible grey existence. I hate feeling weak, hate doing nothing. Some days I have been almost in tears pushing the Hoover around just to rediscover some sort of familiar routine, just to be vaguely active. But in the end, all anyone can do is wait until they feel better. That takes patience. And I am criminally impatient. I was never blessed with that virtue, so I am ecstatic that I finally feel I'm emerging.

There are highlights though. My daughter and I felt so emotional when the flu had us in its clutches that we cried at everything, including Jeremy Kyle and most adverts. I cried when my husband and eldest daughter cooked a roast for Boxing Day even though they'd never done it before. They worked as a team and produced a perfect meal. aided by several gin and tonics. I shall never forget the look of pride and pleasure on their faces. They are now planning to be the Boxing Day cooks every year. The most tears I shed were when the boyfriend of the daughter with flu carried her down the icy lane to our garage so that we could take her to hospital the first time, two days before Christmas. Her little white face resting on his shoulder is an image that will stay with me forever. He shovelled the snow away from the garage door so I could get the car out. He came with us, waited there for six hours with nothing to eat while she was assessed and kept our spirits up the whole time. He assured me she would be discharged in time for Christmas. He is only fifteen.

I also have a guardian angel. When we were driving to the hospital, my car slid on an icy hill and refused to go anywhere other than towards stone walls and other cars. A huge Land Rover appeared out of the greyness and smilingly towed us until we were on safer, flatter roads. This kind of thing has happened to me before, which is why I think I have an angel watching me. I have got into several difficulties on the roads (my own fault, owing to my head always being engaged in fictional matters, I think). As you can imagine, I cried further tears at this act of heavenly kindness that helped us on our way to hospital. The boyfriend then had to read all the road signs for me as I didn't even know where this particular hospital was. He remained calm and patient throughout and there was nothing a panicking flu-struck mother with a very ill daughter could have needed more.

It all goes to show that, even in miserable times, there are amazing surprises that will never be forgotten.

So all this is why I have been behind with writing my blog and reading your lovely blogs. It's lovely to be back and I'm ready now to catch up. In the middle of the dark days, I found out that Woman's Weekly are taking two more of my stories, which was another beam of light shining through the murk. We're definitely having flu jabs this year!


  1. Glad to see you back Joanna, though I am sorry to hear how much illness you've had in the family. Hope you get your full strength back soon.

    I cry really easily, especially at anything to do with animals, sad songs and nostalgic things.

    Well done on the WW successes. Look forward to reading - let us know when they come out.

  2. Oh, Joanna, I'm almost in tears reading your post! I'm so glad you are all okay now, and what a little star that boyfriend is.

    Congratulations on the WW stories - they are so difficult to get into. Onwards and upwards for 2011.

  3. Many thanks for your lovely comments, Joanne and Rosemary. I am appreciating life more now I'm getting better and managing some writing again. It's fantastic just to be upright again!

  4. Oh, Joanna you've really been through it haven't you. Glad all is well now. Your description of your daughter's little white face resting on her boyfriend's shoulder made me want to cry.
    You write so beautifully - I look forward to reading your stories in WW.

  5. Joanna, you poor things, sounds like you've had a time of it! I'm so glad you're on the mend, you'll soon be back to your usual self!
    Congratulation on the WW stories, that's terrific, some good news to cheer you up!
    All the best to you and your daughter (and your exhausted hubby).

  6. Thank you so much Teresa, for your lovely, kind comments. My daughter is not much over five feet tall and her boyfriend is six feet two, so you can imagine how tender and protective he looked.

    Thank you so much penandpaints. You are right, it won't take much longer now we're back on our feet. There were times when we thought we would never lead a normal life again. But we are both a bit inclined to be drama queens at times. Good thing hubby is very down-to-earth and patient! One of these days we will wear him into the ground!

  7. It's lovely to see you back in blogland, but I'm so sorry to hear how ill you and your daughter have been.

    Congratulations of the sales - you must let us know when the stories are published.


  8. Thank you so much Suzanne. Life is settling down again now thankfully and I seem to have recovered my old energy. I now have to rebuild myself, as I lost too much weight during the illness. My face has caved in a bit!

    I'm sure 2011 will turn out to be much better than the end of 2010. I hope your New Year will be full of fantastic things too. x