It hardly seems possible that I have been here in England for six days. Brenda flew back today, and Peter has been here for two days already.My days are spent with Mum, tempting her with small light meals and a couple of times giving in to her longing for a small piece of fish and a few chips—which gives my Dutch cousin Rob, much cause for mirth. “Belinda,” he laughs over the phone, “usually you start with chicken soup—but--fish and chips?”
Every banana, bowl of soup, or sip of the food supplement the doctor ordered, is ground gained, but Mum is still weak and spends most of her time in bed, resting. Dr. Potter says that her eyes look brighter and her tongue looks better and that is encouraging--he has last week to compare with.Sometimes she coughs and then her body is wracked by vomiting, and what little she has eaten comes back until she has only the dry heaves. It hurts to see her frail frame go through that, and I rub her back gently and pray that it will stop soon.
I don’t like the look of her feet and ankles, darkened to deep purple by the blood that pooled there after sitting up for a couple of hours. Her circulation is very poor. I will ask the doctor about that when he comes on Monday.
But I am so grateful to be here with her; to give Rob a bit of a rest as well, as he has no day away or time to relax for long and I know that he feels it. No matter how much we love someone, we need to care for ourselves in order to care well.
The most precious thing has been saying goodnight and praying with Mum at the end of the day. The first night I asked if she would like me to pray with her and she nodded with the eagerness of one lost in the desert and offered a cool drink of water. She folded her hands on top of her bedclothes and closed her eyes, and when I finished, she said with such peace in her voice, “Amen.”
For the blessing of these moments together I am so grateful.