A Day in the Life.
Monday was the second day of my return from Australia. I went for a swim. Vivien gave me a massage for my bad back. I did some shopping, took some bits and pieces to the charity shop and put a bet on Everton for the FA Cup. I put out a reminder for an old boys lunch and touched up a feature I am writing about the famous Old Clayesmorian ,Tony Hart.
I wrote up a couple of blogs about the trip to Oz, made a few of calls and read some back numbers of the Spectator. I put together a collage from Ozzie ephemera. Listened to the news and went down to the club, had a few drinks, talked a while and had some supper and fell asleep,snoring apparently, in front of the TV. Another day. Our years are short but our days are long.
It was in fact the last day for my sister Ann Matyas(1948-2016). She died on Monday night after a bitter fight against rampant cancer, in which she endured two excruciating and hopeless doses of violent chemo therapy.
Her last days were spent chronically weak , bobbing in and out of consciousness, surrounded by her immediate family .
Although we were not close and I had only discovered this wing of the family in 1999 she was the love bomb itself. She was totally enthusiastic about all parts of the family, both living a dead ,and now I was a member of that family. She was impossible to resist.
When I stayed with her in her neat house in Ottowa she made me so welcome I knew the truth of the saying that blood is thicker than water. When her son David spent a some years in England we became great friends.
At least a mention must be made of devoted husband Bob. His almost daily bulletins over the last months were written in balanced,simple and totally effective plainsong. One can only imagine the pain that went into their composition.
Everything Ann saw and touched seem to excite and energise her. This was even more remarkable because for in all the years I knew her, she was never very well, suffering from a variety of ailments not least very poor eyesight and a long list of allergies. But battle she did and had enjoyed a career as a social worker before illness had forced early retirement.
She once gave me a Innuit carving of a bird. Did she know that our father, Karel, had given me an Innuit painting? Both have pride of place and as I wrote to her before she died, there will be a corner of England that will be forever her. We spoke a couple of months ago and she said that sometimes she felt she hadn’t the strength to carry on. The pain is at last over.
Larkin memorably wrote “What will survive of us is love”. Ann left a lot.