She yearns to be ill. We go to the doctor and expect a diagnosis of illness. But she is not ill. I say, ‘That’s good’. But if she were ill then she could be made better. This illness is in her head, as it has been for years. She totters and falls, she lisps and whispers, she sleeps and groans. This is because she wants to sleep all day. I ask if this is a euphemism. Does she want to die? No, she says she wants to sleep. The easy alternative to dying. I wonder if she might actually want to be in a 'care' home which will leave her to rot in the corner. There she would turn her face to the wall. But I am not sure she would be allowed or able to sleep there. She would find it harrowing.
The doctor is kind and gentle. She finds a total collapse of morale. She understands. She tells Ma she is intelligent. This is a decision she has to make: does she choose to live or does she choose to turn away from life? This afternoon Ma chose to live.