e-mail gill@willtolive.co.uk

Monk writing Manuscipt

After the Hurricane

They Want to Change the Law

Creative Writing

After the Hurricane - September 11, 2005 - Michele Wates


It would be good to think that my grandmother’s independence of mind was not such a rare thing; but I am not so sure.

When the Princess of Wales inclined her head to one side in the famous television interview with Martin Bashir, in that winsome, lose some way she had, and mournfully intoned that there had been three people in her marriage and that in consequence she had found it crowded, heads around the country inclined and gently nodded at the same angle with a mixture of sympathy, identification and a degree of schadenfreude. Bella, however, threw her head back and cackled,

"My God! Only three! I should have been so lucky!"

When she was aged 86 and a hospital doctor stood at the foot of her bed and suggested that if the operation was not a success she would spend the rest of her life in an iron lung and that he therefore imagined she might prefer not to be resuscitated, Bella's eyes immediately snapped to attention, flipped over towards where I was sitting by the window and hauled me to her bedside.

"You run home right this minute and fetch my graduation picture!"

The picture had been taken two years earlier and showed Bella receiving her Open University degree in mathematics and chemical engineering.

"I’ll take my master’s degree in an iron lung if need be" she barked after the doctor’s fast retreating form.

"Chemical engineering Mum!" my dad guffawed, when Bella first made her choice of subject known to the family, "Of what earthly use is that going to be?"

She insisted on having the television tuned in to the 24 hour news channel and placed so that she could watch it from her deathbed. She was therefore in a position to exclaim, vindicated, from the depths of her pillows,

"Chemical engineers. That's what they need. That's what they’re crying out for on the Gulf Coast right now. Some way of getting rid of all that toxic water."

She coughed and we all lunged towards her, supporting her to lean forward, patting her back, holding tissues to her mouth to catch the discoloured discharge of spittle, phlegm and God knows what product of her lungs that spluttered out as her eyes filled up with their final tears, "Who's laughing now?" she cried, and died.

They Want to Change the Law - 26th August 2005 Gill Gerhardi


If they had my life
They wouldn’t want it
So the law must be changed
That’s what they say

They don’t want people to suffer
They deny life’s right to carry on
They don’t want loved ones to linger
When they should have been long gone

Pets are granted early death
A nuisance is their simper
We will be expected to lose our breath
Not giving out a whimper

I am not a dog or cat
I’m a fully functioning Me
OK, my legs can’t stand
arms can’t lift my hands
my idle joints might be falling to bits
Yet I’m still a fully functioning Me

I have a share in the family around me
And in the community too
I have wisdom in abundance
to pass to more than a few
I can write, draw, paint, act and dance
And turn disabled living into living arts

They say that once you’re ill or disabled
you should be allowed to leave
Pain is not a welcome sight
Struggle offends the eye
Fighting for your life, is not nice
for the people standing by

We’re all on a mortal coil
So is there point in living longer?
With a funny look or lots of pain
There is reason for us, to be done away
Or so the young and healthy say……. …
When their day comes: They might just rue permission day.