Your beloved cats don't come to you on the bed, so I hear. The one called Little Sock does not part from your mother's side. Perhaps they give you space. Perhaps they have started to let you go. Your mother says she is strong, now, but does not know about after... how she will cope. She will be 80 next month. Her only child is dying.
At the heart of Christmas is the Bethlehem babe, who later went on to preach that we are to love our neighbours as ourselves. Not instead of ourselves or despite ourselves but as ourselves. The all-inclusive love Jesus was teaching, therefore, includes the call to each of us to look after "number one", too.
A favourite song of mine and for me the best interpretation of this ultra romantic tune is by George Michael. I used to joke about George being a bit accident prone on my radio show and must say that his ordeals, trials and tribulations in life have added a large dash of pathos to his style of singing.
Maybe it is narcissistic to expect spiritual fulfilment from our jobs. Maybe any quarter-life 'crisis' is only ever a result of adolescent navel-gazing. Maybe we should all just shut up, get on with the task at hand, and learn to distinguish reality from impractical expectations. Or maybe we should question the cultural definition of success.
As I lay on a patch of grass at the Kenwood Ladies' Pond in London yesterday evening, I realised the peace I'd thought was so elusive and so far away was within my reach - and on my doorstep.