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Things can always be worse…
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Beyond belief and almost inconceivable, first my mother died and then a little more than a month later my father followed. That’s not so odd you might say..many couples that have lived together or been married for a long time often die within a couple of months of each other. But my father hadn’t lived with my mother for over 30 years. He hadn’t and didn’t show any interest in my mother when on the few occaisons like a holiday everyone came together. Yet, I could tell when my mother died that it was a blow and one not easily recovered from.

It can always be worse I used to tell my friend Geoff when my mother first came to live with me. Don’t say that he would intone it absolutely can. And I came to see that he was right. Every time I thought things couldn’t get worse or be worse..they changed and often in the wrong direction. My friend Casey bought me this clever tea cup for Christmas last year that looked like Blue Willow. You know the ones, they are white with a blue transfer pattern of Japanese pagodas or English tea gardens superimposed on the porcelain china. Perhaps your grandmother or aunt had a set. Sometimes they are in pink or red or even brown but they are quite distinctive. This modern cup however if you looked closely had Godzilla smashing airplanes out of the sky or dragons raining fire on blue cities. Calamityware it is called. I loved it. I wanted to collect the tea pots and a whole set of cups and plates, bowls, the works.

The idea behind Calamityware which was spawned during the pandemic was no matter how bad a day you had..things could be so much worse. I’m not sure when I stopped wanting to collect them but that cup eventually found its way to the back of my cupboard. Superstition began to suggest that perhaps using that cup was like bringing the bad juju that Geoff spoke of down upon oneself. The pandemic went from bad to worse. My mother needed a surgery that required 3 invasive procedures in addition to the removal of her gall bladder. I had to teach from school and then in my classroom before a vaccine was found despite living with someone in delicate health. I didn’t want any conditions to grow worse and I knew they could.

My mother died right before Christmas and for a time I thought the worst had happened. That constant stress I lived with abated. I thought it was safe to drink from the Calamityware mug. But then my father died. Now I’m not so sure.

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