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So Much Can Happen in a Year

By Belinda

We all know on some level in our heads that life as we know it can change in an instant, but we act as though we ourselves, and those we love are invincible--and we choose to believe it. 

We don't really believe that our parents will ever grow old, or become vulnerable--or dependent. They were the ones who were so big and strong in our eyes as children and they were supposed to look after us.

I remember the shock when I first noticed my parents aging and realized that they whom I had needed, needed me. 

And now, as relentlessly as the increasingly chill winds of oncoming winter gradually stripped bare the trees of their golden leafed glory, what only happened to other people was happening to us.

One October evening in 2003, just after Mum's stroke, I was playing Beatles music in my kitchen while cooking a stir fry, and the music reminded me vividly of our last years together as a family in the 1960's. I found myself mourning the loss of both of my parents. It was a process I had to go through, even for Mum, who was still alive. We had hope, but we didn't know how much of Mum would "come back." I felt a tremendous sense of loss.

Just a year ago, when I had gone to England in October, to spend three weeks with Mum and Dad in their house on Snake Lane in Alvechurch, I had worked through so much, emotionally and spiritually. I let go of my judgement of Dad, and was able to accept him as he was, and just love him.

I left them living as they had for years together, not knowing that the next time I saw Dad, just over two months later, he would be in hospital and dying.

And now the house on Snake Lane stood lonely and empty except for Sam the cat. 

One thing I realized at that time was although the person you knew before seemed to be gone, you just loved the person who they were right now. It was a relief to let go of what was, and might never be again, but be grateful, and love Mum, with all of my heart, exactly as she was now.

Rob and I spoke by telephone almost every night after his visits to Mum. It was tiring for him, after a day at work to spend time every day at the hospital, but he did, faithfully, reporting back to me every evening, how Mum was.

I began to make plans at the beginning of November to go to England. I told Rob I would be there on November 10th and come for two weeks; it was the most that I thought I could manage away from home and work. 

Rob slowly and carefully asked if I could stretch it to three weeks. I knew that he thought Mum was dying, even though there were occasional flashes of hope and people were telling us encouraging stories.

I planned to talk more to Rob about it and knew that God would guide me surely.

The next time I talked to Rob, he had told Mum that I was planning to come to England. He told me that without any prompting she had said, "No." Then she said, "Not yet." Although she couldn't explain why, I guessed that she wanted to try to be better than she was before I came.

I decided to put my plans to leave for England on hold temporarily, and wait until I could be of the most use and support to Mum and Rob.

Meanwhile Mum was moved from the hospital in Redditch, to another hospital in Bromsgrove, for rehabilitation. She was happy and laughing and said that she had been thinking a lot about her cat. That was such a good sign and we clung on to such things!

To be continued...


Marilyn said…
"And now the house on Snake Lane stood lonely and empty except for Sam the cat. "

There was something marvelously deep in this sentence for me, I don't know what.
Susan said…
I'm really glad you're hanging this particular load of laundry out on the line... I wish I had words to say what's in my heart...

Brave Raven said…
This spoke to me in profound ways. You have trudged this arduous path and left footprints for us to follow. Thank-you.
Anonymous said…
I can relate to the wish that we could freeze time in regards to our parents. I remember very distinctly saying to a group of friends many years ago that we were in the best time of our lives. We were young enough to do things, our parents were all alive, we had some money for "fun" and were working. Our siblings were healthy and we were becoming aunts, uncles or even mothers. I must have brought it up at least 4 or 5 times.

How that is changed. Most of our parents are gone, our children have grown up and away, health issues scratch at the door threatening to come in, with a few of us bearing wounds.

I often long for those days of past again. To hear the laugh of my father and the loving thoughts of my mother. Not to have gone through deaths and illness - and witness their strength ebb away. Even heros seem to die - and now we see reflections of fading glory in out own mirrors.
Belinda said…
Oh, this is what it is to have writers who read here!

The comments touched my heart as the post touched yours.

Thank you...

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