I don't know about you but I try not to wallow too much in self pity. After all we all have woes, there is always something that is sent to try us and pain us in some way and we have to somehow get through it all.
I have certainly had my fair share of rubbish through the years with one thing or person or the other but I always seem to land on my feet, always pushing through that next issue, trial or tribulation. I try not to think about it too much which sometimes makes me wonder if I am uncaring or cold hearted? I am certainly sensitive and take everything to heart, I love easily and I get hurt because of it, but sometimes I just switch off emotionally, lately I feel my whole system shutting down, only part listening to people answering with hmmm and A-huh! Hearing certain words but not whole conversations and answering, hoping it's enough to get me through, I seem to be blagging my way through that lately too.... I feel self absorbed my issues, my woes and strife's are taking over and controlling my existence.
These last 12 months have been so life zapping, I feel like all the fun has just got up and left the room, there's nothing to smile about, nothing to laugh at and nothing to motivate me. All the things which have defined me in the last seven years seem to be going by the wayside, which if I am honest is probably half my problem, after all if you don't do the things you love doing how are you supposed to forget the things that are hurting you?
My Mother in-law was, is, an inspirational woman someone I can look to and admire and I guess only aspire to be like, strong, kind and loving and oh so very brave, I can only tell this story from my limited perspective, because with regret and probably my biggest and most painful regret to date is that I will never know this woman the way many others have known and loved her. Let me explain.....
In 2007 Glen and I first started seeing each other, in Germany, at the time I was 28 and I guess you believe your going to live for ever plenty of time why not right? Your still young.... In 2008 we got engaged, Glen moved to America with work, 2009 I followed and we got married, late 2010 we moved back to Germany. We were both wrapped up in work and life, getting on with "important" stuff. Then in 2012 last year we moved back to England, and it took us getting a phone call from his mother to tell us she was sick to wake up and smell the roses.
The first time I met her was in a hospital room in Newcastle, six years after I had met my husband, if I am honest not a lot from that day sticks out that much, we had taken the girls up too (although we hadn't told them how sick their Grandma was) and since we weren't all allowed in her room at the same time out of respect for the rest of the family I hung back. We knew she had terminal cancer at this point, but she had gone in to have a hernia, poked back in I suppose. Not that you would have guessed anything was wrong with her at the time, had it not been for the oxygen tubes. Cracking jokes and in truth more worried about her cat Socks than she was herself. I do remembering thinking how strong and almost overpowering her presence was, not in a bad way, she made you feel loved and warm, safe. I also remember feeling incredibly sad, because on the one hand I had been blessed with MIL that was so beautiful on so many levels but on the other I knew she was going to be taken away from me and probably sooner rather than later.
Over the following months we went up to see her, whenever she was well enough which towards the end was few and far between. Even when we did go up she wasn't much up to visitors!
We took Vinny up with us and she would put Socks in her bedroom and then fuss over the dog, I think he instinctively knew where the rich tea biscuits where kept, as she made him sit and then fed him handfuls of them, he loved his Grandma straight away.
Glen would tell me stories about when he went home and his mother would make far too much food and make him eat it, I put that down to one of those half truths, you know the type of story I mean..... "Oh there was hundreds of them" when in truth it was only about 10 but felt like 100. It's true though, the first time we went she didn't have anything ready but offered us sandwiches, crisps, pizza and chips (fries) amongst other stuff, which we politely declined. The next time we went, she had laid out, sandwiches, crisps, chocolates, cakes and biscuits and wouldn't accept a polite no thank you as an answer. She broke my heart this day, this was the day when I knew that despite my attempts at remaining detached that I loved her. She wept, not a lot, just a little, she knew that her time was slipping away but it wasn't HER time she was sad about, it was for those she was leaving behind, in particular her boys. She was worried about her beautiful boys, for Wayne, Darren and Glen. She had raised them on her own a strength in it's self to admire and respect because they are smart, hard working and caring men. A credit to their mother which can not be disputed and you could tell that she was so very, very proud of them.
She took everything in her stride, I have no doubt that it must have been very difficult for her but she had everything organised, down to the very last detail. How she managed to cope with that alone is beyond me. I fear I would have fallen apart.... At the end all her boys were around her, keeping a vigil. Taking it in turns to stroke her hands and her hair, she wasn't awake, but I think she knew we were all there! Especially her boys and Jill, my sister in law who is absolutely amazing, in par with my MIL as far as strength goes, another woman in my eyes to aspire to, I really have been blessed with strong women around me. Those last few hours, quiet time to reflect and think was quite literally the hardest in my life, for me it was a different kind of pain than the others, I don't feel less than them but part of me feels as though I have less rights to pain as them, mostly I feel cheated because she was the sort of woman, the MIL I have always wanted. I have a few memories that I can hold on to and I will with all my heart.
As an after thought, if anyone is reading this and is thinking about making a charitable donation anytime in the future spare a thought for the Marie Curie charity who do an absolutely outstanding job of looking after all their patients, with the utmost care and respect. There are only 9 hospices in the United Kingdom of their kind and are incredibly expensive to run, with no NHS funding they rely on people like us to donate whatever we can.
I love you Thelma. May you be forever peaceful now. xxxxxxx