Lunch with Mrs Lazarus


Certain freedoms are set to go - from September I've signed on to an English teaching post - but for now one benefit of this writing life is the freedom to drop work when the need arises. I'm just back from a period attending my mother in hospital.

The hospital priest returns today, after a three day break supping wine and foie gras in Avignon. Having already given Mom the last rites, he's likely to find her greeting him at the hospital door. When I was born she was given 24 hours to live - she's been challenging the diagnosis ever since, at no time more than now when the doctors keep producing similar pronouncements every other day. "I'm going to write a story of my time here," I said the other day, as she swallowed a forkful of a midday meal. "I'll call it 'Lunch with Mrs Lazarus'".

She smiled then - though on repeating the new Mrs Lazarus nickname to her yesterday she found it objectionable. That's much more of a suitable reaction from Mom (we've agreed she isn't to read my new novel for a while, since she is guaranteed to find it distasteful). With her own distinct sense of judgment coming back into place I have more sense that she's back in the land of the living.

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