This is the view from Mum's kitchen window at the end of the day. I am here!
Rob and my nephew John met me, with hugs and smiles at Birmingham airport early this morning, and by 9.15 we were at the door of Mum's flat.
"Leave the luggage to me, I'll open the door and you can go in," said Rob--and I needed no further encouragement.
I walked through the door, down a short hallway and pushed open a door that was slightly ajar, to find Mum on the couch, wearing a sky blue top and with a colourful crocheted blanket covering her knees and legs.
She looked at me with an expression of love mixed with stress giving way to relief, her eyes sunken with worry. "Oh, my dear friends," she said, "I had better not tell you what terrible things I was imagining." My mum is a catastrophizer. The gene skipped me but landed on Brenda and Tippy. Tippy, fortunately for her, is taught at school how to recognize when an innocent thought or comment is mushrooming in her imagination into a nuclear explosion of disastrous magnitude. She learns to breath, think the issue through to reality and employ one of several coping mechanism.
I didn't ask what dreadful fate had befallen us all in her thoughts--we were too busy hugging and dread was evaporating from the room faster than summer rain on hot asphalt pavement.
Rob was running water into the kettle for the first of the many cups of tea drunk today and I sat beside Mum and began the first of the many semi-comatose naps that would be taken. It was, after all, really still the early hours of the morning back in Ontario, and everyone was still asleep at home.
Throughout the day I slowly unpacked and organized my store of books and other stuff. Rob and I went to Sainsbury's in the afternoon to pick up a few things and I volunteered to pick up fish and chips for supper. They were the best fish and chips I have ever tasted!
When Mum's Helping Hands ladies arrived to help her get ready for bed in the evening, I took Bruce for a quick walk.
I walked up the steep hill (Bear Hill,) past the small triangular village green with a park bench and the war memorial placed there by the Alvechurch Ex Services Association. I was headed for the churchyard.
From the back I knew Dad's headstone. As I rested my hand on the dark grey granite monument still warmed by summer sun. I thought of how, had he been alive, his eyes would have brimmed with tears of inexpressible love. He would have awkwardly taken my hand in his big, clumsy working hands--the one wrist misshapen through being badly set after a motorcycle accident; and he would have wordlessly shaken his head, sighing his happiness at my being here with them. Never mind that as the evening wore on the occasion would have been cause for extra liquid celebration; I knew I was loved.
Bruce and I left him to head towards the churchyard gate leading to School Lane. I passed Martha's grave and knelt down and whispered that I hoped one day to meet her in heaven and that her life (1817-1904) was an inspiration to me. I have written about Martha here before. Click on her name if you are curious! :)
Then it was home, past 48 Bear Hill where I lived for 10 years, and 42 Snake Lane where Mum and Dad moved and where I visited them many times over the years, and on to Tanyard Close, where Mum now lives with Rob close by.
It was time for prayer with Mum before bed, and to organize my place to sleep!