Friday, 10 October 2008
Tea and Tigers
But it has been rough, I've got to say. My Mum is seriously ill in hospital and it is uncertain how long she will be there and whether there will be a full recovery. I was told on Monday night. I feel like a small bird making quick darts into a caged wall. Add a family emergency and some jumpy sleeps, and Oxford can shift very quickly from haven of liberal scholars to prison of self-important shits. There have been some other difficult things to deal with as well, but I don't feel like writing about them here.
Nevertheless, after a massage yesterday, and a more restful sleep last night, I feel far less overwhelmed. I am trying to keep it manageable - one day or even one step at a time, as two friends (one in Oxford, one in Oz) have reminded me. My priorities are: (1) To do what I can to make my mum feel more comfortable, loved and positive (phonecalls, flowers, iPod of her favourite music, open communication with rest of family); (2) To finish my paper for next week's conference; (3) To give myself what I need to feel less alarmed (or ready for a tiger to swipe then munch me and my babies in the night): good food, fresh air, routine, the presence of older friends, and some space from the College scene.
One of my friends here told me that things in Oxford are far more tangible and secure than they appear when you're in crisis mode. He said that I just have to reach out and lean against its walls. It's true - a lovely friend from College treated me to tea and sympathy yesterday, my College has offered to pay for a flight if necessary, and even someone whom I have known for only a few days offered to run errands for me. Note to self: just as I would always try to help out someone else in need, most people would do the same for me. I just have to ask.