Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Empty nester?

You know how writing is therapy? That's often why I write. However, I've been warned off the topic I'm about to mention by one of my sisters - hi Reggie - and my daughter, Didi. I won't bother giving her a shout out because she'd rather spoon her eyeballs out than read anything I write. Gen Y. Suits me.

So. My mum is recently widowed - Dad died almost exactly a year ago - and she's been living alone in a small house on a large coastal block 90 minutes drive from me. Reggie lives three hours away in another direction and sister, Jane, is in the Northern Territory - not that there's anything wrong with that.

We three daughters called my mother daily, so I'm thinking that's about three hours worth of regular talk and support, albeit on the phone. Al and I visited mum every other weekend. She also had a large group of church and book-group friends in her village on the coast.

Happily, mum has enjoyed good physical health. She single-handedly cared for my dad during the last couple of years of his life when he was unable to look after himself. She achieved that feat through a special combination of nursing skill - she was a trained nurse; 'triple certificated sister' as we used to recite in our youth - and intense love. My mum and dad were the special two from the minute they clapped eyes on each other when my dad had come off his motorbike, broken his leg and ended up in Harrogate General Hospital in North Yorkshire, UK, where my mother was sister on duty.

Mum had been coping on her own until a couple of weeks ago.

Now she's with me.

She's on the couch now, at midday, with a cuppa and day-time TV. I think she's managing the remote control. She's wrapped in cosy blankets, because she's invariably freezing, and she's propped up on pillows. I hope she's okay because I'm about to go out for my endocrinology appointment that I booked several months ago.

I'll be riding my bike. And I'm so happy to have a doctor's appointment on my day off, despite the fact that today I've already taken mum for a fasting blood test at sparrow's fart, and a mid-morning CAT scan.

The 15k round trip cycle will be a break.

And I feel so guilty for needing a break from my brilliant mother whom I adore.