Late on the night of Mum's sudden return to the hospital, Rob called me with good news. He had arrived half expecting her to be still waiting to be seen, just as I had worried, but instead he found her settled into bed, wearing a warm, pink and yellow nightie, with a cream blanket tucked up around her. She was comfortable, and said that she felt "at home," and was laughing and happy. Such a relief.
Mum spent a week in the hospital and then was brought home again on December 10th to the house on Snake Lane. Rob found this time that she was not quite herself, and seemed depressed.
Feeling so very far away, our lives went on, caught up with the gathering intensity of Christmas activities. The evening of December 10th, Paul and I went to the community carol service at our church.
I burst into tears in the middle of, Oh Holy Night. The thought of Mum and Rob struggling along in Alvechurch and of Mum in the cold empty house, and sad; was just too much of a contrast with the joyful singing, and the warmth, light and abundance all around me--I could hardly bear it.
If only Mum would consent to her bed being moved downstairs, Rob and I would not have worried quite so much, but she was so fiercely independent and determined. I talked to her with much prayer backing me, hoping that if she wouldn't listen to Rob, then perhaps my position as elder child in the hierarchy of family, would count. She did agree, and we thanked God.
Less than a week later though, Mum was back in hospital for the third time since the stroke after falling twice more. This time at least it was downstairs, where it was warmer. But she was in a bad way, with a stomach bug, caused, apparently, by an antibiotic that had lowered her resistance.
I checked flights to England and asked Rob to tell Mum that I was planning on flying there at the end of January, but, if it would encourage her, I would come sooner; she only had to say.
Dear Mum said, "No; January; because by then my speech will be so much better."
I booked a flight for January 28th; just a few weeks away. I knew that Mum would be different to when I last saw her and said goodbye, on October 13. Our new reality would not truly sink in until I saw her for myself. Was it really just two months ago that we had shared four weeks of intense intimacy and "memory making?" It seemed so much longer.
To be continued...