Paying attention, tango, love and death

It is so very easy to forget to listen to that internal voice. The distractions of life conspire – or rather, the din that all the going-on around you creates drowns it. But it is possible to listen.

The benefits are plenty. Authenticity is the only way to go. Down all other paths lay reduced pleasure in life. And as Minister of Pleasure I cannot condone that. After all, the here and now is all we ever have. It is really a shame to waste it.

InezSome people run out of here and now well before they planned to, or thought they would. My grandparents, for example. My grandmother (pictured, left, at 16 years of age) contracted TB in the late thirties, when she was a young, vibrant woman and pregnant with my mum. Apparently, she swore at the doctor when she got the diagnosis – she was furious, and refused to believe it.

She died when my mum was 6 months old, only months before the antbiotics that made it treatable came. I think she was 21. Inez (which was her name) and my grandfather, Hans, were very keen dancers – especially tango – and from what I gather of stories told about them a popular, happy, attractive, fun-loving young couple (pictured, right, somewhat fuzzily, just before Inez got pregnant) who were very much in love. And the tango, of course. They even competed.

Inez & HasseI wonder if the dance bug is genetic? My mum had it all her life. I cannot imagine my life without dance.

Anyway, my grandfather didn’t have long on this earth, either. He had just got his affairs in order and re-married eight years later, when he died suddenly of an aneurysm. My mum was just about to move in with them at that point. She had grown up with her grandmother, Eva Gustava, who lost her youngest child and only daughter when Inez died. Eva Gustava was not keen on giving her up – I guess she felt that my mum in some way was a replacement for her daughter.

My mum called her grandmother ‘mum’ and stayed with her until she was about 12 years old. At that point she had to move to another town to go to secondary school. She then moved in with her uncle and his wife. But that’s another story.

Anyway, I always feel that somehow I live for my grandmother too, not just for me. And that I have to make the most of it, for her sake as well as for mine. I think I probably feel closer to her than my mum does.


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