Developmental Shorts: Time for Rachel Bride

Another short has had an outing and come back home. 🙂

I was never too sure as to the title of this piece: Care Returns for Rachel Bride or Time for Rachel Bride. I ended up settling on the latter as time is a recurring theme throughout and ‘care’ is a sticky subject nowadays in competitions, apparently, due to overuse. Nonetheless, this is also about the final care and why.

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Organising a Short Story Competition

Well, whilst trying to recover from the MA submission, I took it easy and continued on another project: a local Short Story Competition. Things tumbled quite quickly, with a pair of excellent first-line judges leaping at the chance and a very well- known senior judge happily volunteering. The competition is not associated with any publisher and is tightly limited, but even before I began to publicise it I had half a dozen people talking to me about their entry.

Wonderful, and highly encouraging.

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Sometimes life gets in the way

Pain – or Life – Management is an ongoing effort, a framework that often results in a daily management plan. It may seem a burden, but you get used to it. You know what you want to achieve so you work out what you may be able to do in a particular day or number days, work in rests, distractions, possible medication, relaxations and end up with a plan.  Being a writer helps as the physical work can be wrapped around the vital task of reading.

But then the plan hits reality and has to be adjusted. That’s fine: the phrase ‘no plan ever survives contact with the enemy’ comes to mind. You adjust it, add in more medication, perhaps, more breaks, even a deliberate, full lie-down/meditation.  That tends to work, and you adjust the plan.

But then life really kicks in and stomps all over the new plan, all over the intentions. Life Management becomes a real struggle.

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Saying goodbye

Oh no! A blog without a post!  Quick: resus team, nurse, ambulance, paramedic, writer…

Of course, things have been busy at the tail end of the modules for this MA, and I’ve been struggling with medication balance as well as just recovering.  And, on top of that, my stepmother has died after over three years in a care home for her Alzheimers.  It is a crazy disease and, of course, we’ve been expecting it for a while but, when the death finally occurs (inevitably of pneumonia), those closest are hit with the compounded loss they have been storing up for years.

In our case, it’s Dad, of course. I think I said goodbye when she stopped recognising me and my son (she had been confusing us for ages – easy to do: tall, blonde, handsome, sli… er, well, maybe not the latter). It was then that the loss was mutual.  But it was unpleasant. 

It got worse: the last 18 months or so has been horrible, mainly seeing Dad get so upset when she suffered one of those care-home abuses which led to three people, including management, being landed with suspended prison sentences. Eventually she was re-homed (ugh!) to what ended up to be a much-happier and much better home. 

It doesn’t help that the original care home has had the cheek to send a bill for early withdrawal.  Indignation strikes and fury rears its ugly head. But we have to let it wash away to support and curb Dad’s obvious anger.

That anger is not what she would have wanted. She was someone who the grandchildren and was really valued as a SEN reading teacher: to her, everyone could achieve, even when they came from the worst backgrounds.  Always welcoming, encouraging, self-effacing, she was too easy to be overlooked, but she was one of the people who the world really needs, leaving it a better place through her life and living.

She had a wisteria in a garden which I admired, so she gave us a rootling from it.  It has now overtaken the back of our house. Glorious, weeping purple sprays, a cascade of texture and a scent that permeates the house and garden so plentiful are the blooms.  It has sheltered blue tits, doves and bees; weathered being hacked back when a fence collapsed; had cuttings taken and given to others and, with its texture, has turned a house into a home.  It will always be “Gloria’s Wizzy”, always reminding us of her. 

Glorias Wizzy

Heavily pruned by some gutter-cleaners, but still bursting forwards with colour

She will be missed, and fondly remembered.