Well, this is a post I really hoped I wouldn't have to write for many years. My beloved, lovely, Mum died last month. It was very sudden, and unexpected and a huge shock to us all. She was only 70, which is (as people keep telling me) no age at all, but her health had become very poor in recent years. As you may remember, we all caught the flu when she was here at Christmas, and I don't think she recovered from that fully.
I'd been down to spend the day in Sussex with her, and we had a pleasant relaxing time together, I ferried her to a few medical appointments, we had tea, watched all the various afternoon TV shows she liked, then treated ourselves to an Indian takeaway for supper, before I headed home again in the late evening.
That night she became ill, called an ambulance and was admitted to the superb St Richard's hospital where they tried to find out what the problem was. I was worried she might have had a heart attack, but after a day or two of tests they said she had "an infection" later specified as cellulitis. Mum had cellulitis several times, a complication of a longstanding diabetic ulcer on her foot, and despite it being a nasty thing, I was relieved as she'd been treated for it successfully before.
To cut a long and sad story short, despite getting the best possible care, she passed away a few days later, with her family around her. It was peaceful, dignified, gentle, and she was in no distress, which is about as much as any of us can hope for I think.
We held the funeral on a gloriously sunny day in August, and many friends, family and members of her church attended to pay their respects. I will miss her more than I can say.
I take comfort from the thought that she is reunited with my Dad, who died so many years ago, and who she loved all her life.
Grief is a strange thing. I have hours, and now even half-days, where I feel fine, almost as if I have forgotten what has happened, and then a wave crashes over me and I am inconsolable. I know it will get easier, but my God, it's hard at the moment.
I was supposed to be down in Sussex this week to help my sisters sort out some of the paperwork, but as if by magic, I went down with a chest infection at the weekend, and have spent the last 48 hours in bed, coughing wretchedly.
I don't think it's a coincidence that I have avoided the Black Lung since I stopped working in London, and now it reappears. Thankfully, it seems to be receding again within a week, unlike the 3-month visitations of yore, but it scared me badly.
Two positive things:
1) Our holiday in Japan, which was booked a while ago, is now a shining beacon of "something to look forward to" even more than it already was.
2) I joined a local spa/gym at a country hotel nearby a few days after I went down to visit my Mum and going swimming there has been very helpful. I recently sold my Rickenbacker 12-string, so had some "extra" money in the bank, and used it to pay for a year's membership and I am so glad I did, as it means I have somewhere to go that has no associations with anything else in my life. It helps.