Because the three of us, my sister, my brother and I all live a fair distance away visiting wasn’t straightforward. Pete is working full time, Anuk is a self employed artist and I’m a writer. Since I can write anywhere, I picked up my HP notebook and came to stay with my daughter and son-in-law, who luckily live in the same city.
The week that followed was surreal. Every morning I got on a bus that took me across the city, through parts of Bristol I’d never seen before, to Southmead Hospital. I’d spend a good part of the day with Mum, then about 3. 30 in an attempt to beat the rush hour I’d be back on that bus.
The journey took an hour. A good time to think and plan the next book, or short story, but the mind doesn’t work like that. My thoughts skittered all over the place. Obviously I was concerned about Mum’s progress and when and where she would recuperate, but my thoughts dipped in and out of time. I had vivid images of bus journeys to and from school, of what it was like coming to stay with my parents when my kids were young and then odd glimpses of the lives of fellow passengers, or people I saw in the street.
At the end of it, I’d limp back to Lucy’s where I was fed and watered and generally looked after until it was time to start the whole process the next day.
The oddest thing of all was how quickly this all seemed normal. The rest of life was like something seen at the far end of a telescope. All that mattered was being there with Mum.
Coming home was a jolt to the senses. Having to do more than travel, visit, eat, sleep and do it all over again, felt so odd. There was a strange feeling of distance of not being quite here yet.
Already that’s fading. There’s nothing like having to wash the cat’s paw prints from the kitchen floor to bring you back to reality. And writing this blog too makes everything seem more normal.