I have to go travelling once more. My mother is ill and I am needed to go down there to look after her. My brother and his partner have been doing a sterling job, but its really hard and they could do with a bit of respite.
This is what you do when you have to. You go and pick up your shovel. And you get to work.
I need to remember to look after myself, as well as her, whilst I am there. It is so easy to forget that you can’t care for someone else if you are exhausted and sick yourself. And I can get that way very easily.
(Witness two hours spent in a freezing bathroom in the early hours of this morning with a poorly tummy. Trust me to choose the coldest night of the year so far to have a stomach upset/nervous meltdown!)
I’m taking my creativity with me, though.
I’m going to have to be creative about how I get her to eat and drink enough (and drinking enough is a real issue with old ladies.) I’m going to have to be creative about how I keep her entertained and lift her spirits. (Hello Scrabble, crosswords, endless episodes of Miss Marple.) And I’m going to have to appear to be relentlessly optimistic (even though a part of me inside is a gibbering toddler afraid of losing her mummy.)
I’m tired just thinking about it, and thats without the fact that I only had three hours sleep last night.
But there are thousands of people out there right now who are doing exactly the same thing. Caring for their elderly relatives. Coping with looking after those with chronic illness or dementia. Wrestling with the health care system. Trying to face inevitable grief. People like you and me. A silent army of carers that is only going to get bigger.
In the face of this upheaval, I don’t know when I’ll have the chance to post again for a while. I ask you to bear with me. I’ll be back soon, I promise. The nib of the pen doesn’t stop moving, after all, and neither does the Muse,