A guest post from Karli Watson
Over the last year or so of donna's life, where I gradually slid into that new role of being a carer, I had a morning routine. I'd head to the kitchen, make us both coffee & maybe a glass of juice, and make porridge. Typically, I'd add some banana or blueberries, and then I'd bring everything upstairs and we'd spend some time breakfasting together. As time went on I had to change things a bit. As she became less mobile I'd have to help her to get out of bed, down the stairs and to the sofa, make sure she had everything within arm's reach and give her an occasional poke if she fell back to sleep. And then, closer to the end, things changed again. She stopped being able to eat anything other than meal-replacement shakes, and that meant the porridge stopped.
Since then, for almost 15 months, I haven't made myself porridge for breakfast. The box has sat there in the corner of the kitchen, staring at me, gradually getting further and further past its best before date. And then, last week, I made myself a bowl. It was horrible. Turns out the best before date does matter, given enough time. So, I threw it out and bought some more. And now, I seem to be having it most days.
Is this a sign of progress? I don't know. Why should something as mind-blowingly mundane as rolled oats cause emotions like this? I also don't know. But I know some of you will understand, or have equally ludicrous stories.
But how I wish could share one last bowl with her. I'd do it properly on the hob, none of those microwave shortcuts. And I'd add bananas, and sprinkle Splenda on the top, and add a dash of cold milk, and then a sprinkle of "munchy seeds". It would be, pardon my French, a fucking good bowl of porridge.
I was widowed at 50 when Tim, who I expected would be my happy-ever-after following a marriage break-up, died suddenly from heart failure linked to his type 2 diabetes. Though we'd known each other since our early 20s, we'd been married less than ten years.