...life can be translucent

In Retreat

I’m writing this perched awkwardly on the end of my bed, with the computer balanced on a lap tray. How come? Let me explain.

My younger brother David has Down’s Syndrome, and since Mum died last summer I’m his surviving family. Most of the time he lives in a small family-type home in Somerset, where he’s very happy indeed. But come the holidays, all the other residents go home to their parents, like he used to do. So this Easter, he’s with us. I asked Yi before I fetched him for some advice on how to manage, and received Hexagram 33, unchanging: Retreat.

David is being terrific. He’s polite, considerate and good-tempered. He turns up quietly at my shoulder when I’m washing up and picks up a tea-towel. He thanks me sincerely for every meal I cook. I have nothing to complain about at all. But he does mumble away to himself and his imaginary friends the whole time, and he does like sitting in my room when I’m trying to work.

I tell myself that this is just a matter of concentration.


I know Yi suggested Retreat, and that seems a very attractive idea just now, but I simply need to focus in on my work and I won’t even notice.


It’s just a matter of fighting down my irritation…


…and choosing not to be exasperated, because it’s not as if David could help it, so being vexed with him would make no sense at all…



David is contentedly watching TV (the TV’s in the same room as my desk). I’m perched on the end of my bed with a laptray, completely out of earshot, in perfect peace. My inner piglet is no longer squealing and scrabbling, and presently I shall go and start negotiations about what to cook this evening.

One response to In Retreat

  1. Hi Hilary,

    I read the above and I feel that your brother is a very special person. All his imaginary (or not) friends give him the possibility of never been alone. Who can really say that? Who does not have imaginairy friends? All of us DO really. It is how we look into them and how we talk, isn’t it? We normally talk with our minds, however your brother is more expressive and speak with his mounth. What a wonderful task you have in this life to have such a special brother.

    You are blessed!

    On Shanti,

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