All posts tagged: England

Three more great moments from Mum, thanks to my smartphone ‘Notes’ feature

I’m two weeks back in Oz now, jetlag gone, and trying to make more space on my phone by deleting notes & photos. I’m so glad I was inspired to write down stuff Mum was saying, as no matter how fabulous it was, I just wouldn’t have remembered it all without prompts. Here’s my Top Three (& you need to know Mum is proudly Celtic in heritage, a little unconventional, and sometimes incredibly philosophical). On watching the Carnival Parade in our small seaside town, clapping along to the Marching Band- “Mum, I think you’re out of time.” “No, I’m doing Welsh time.” The next morning, a Sunday, while the church bells are ringing- “Mum, you’re still covered in glitter from hugging that random person off their float…” “Oh well, it’s a good thing I’m not married to the vicar then isn’t it?” At our last dinner together before my return to Australia- “Shall we have a toast Mum?” “Yes: to all the people who love us, all the people who’ve loved us, and everyone who’s …

Osteopath: ‘You’re all locked up, & we need to shift it.’ Me: ‘OK…’ *gulps

I’ve been back from England for 10 days now (16,886 kms away from home in Australia), and my valiant struggles with the dreaded jetlag are finally paying off. Last night I did open my eyes at 1.30am as usual, but instead of lying there till 4.30, wide awake and wanting some dinner, I went back to sleep within 30 minutes, so have woken up feeling relatively normal. This is joy. And I’m not going to whinge on about the incredible privilege of international air travel, when so many millions of fellow human beings are homeless or without access to clean water… But jetlag does suck bad. Plus sleeping on a shitty pull-out bed on Mum’s floor for 3 weeks had stressed my back, therefore a visit to the Osteopath was part of my self-care strategy on returning. I was massaged, manipulated, adjusted and cracked, especially my chest/rib area, front and back. You know, around your heart. Interesting that. I went home from the appointment feeling terrible: nauseous like morning sickness, grumpy, on edge, and prickly …

I’ve become a waddling Mama duck

I’m at the start of my 3rd week visiting Mum in England, and realized today what’s happening: she’s imprinting on me like ducklings or cygnets do. When I ask her if she’s ready for breakfast, she looks at me to ask if I’m having some? Same with a cuppa, having a shower, or going for a walk. It wasn’t like that for the first week. Or perhaps I was too jetlagged/overwhelmed/finding my way to notice? Now we’ve settled into a routine though, as I’ve learnt the rhythm of her days and nights, including the multiple daily carer visits. So it suddenly stood out to me this afternoon, as I left for a walk on my own, that she really was becoming my shadow. This isn’t good. I return home to Australia in 10 days, and yes, I’m definitely counting down. What’s going to happen once I’ve gone? Who will repeat for the fifth time what we’re having to eat? Who will cook her such fine, healthy lunches, and supply long-favoured treats like crumpets or Crunchie …

Musings on Mum

I’m on the train down to the quaint English seaside town where I grew up, watching the countryside flash by. Neatly hedged fields, thick-walled farmhouses, and glimpses of bigger human settlements marked by the identical carparks and superstores. I’m trying to work out how I feel. It’s a mixture of jetlagged tiredness, slight anxiety, a little excitement, and my hopeful practice of being an open, blank slate. It suddenly occurred to me that Mum hasn’t seen me with blonde hair. Well, not since the ill-fated ‘Highlights Experiment of 1985’ anyway; maybe I should pop my blue cap on? This is a new experience: wondering how Mum is going to greet me. For as long as I can remember of course, she has hugged me hello with a squeal of excitement, and teary eyes, especially once I moved to Australia in 1987, and there were long gaps between my flights home. At my financially poorest, and most rebellious, I admit I didn’t see her for 8 years; I would HATE it if ‘18’ did that to …

‘I’ve got to get this done’: dealing with a parent’s dementia from afar

By the time this publishes, I will be en route to the UK. For 3 weeks, I am going to stay with my 82-yr old Mum, who is now suffering quite badly from her dementia. I’ve written about her before in ‘Two rocks lie heavy in my heart; the first is Mum’ . She was having two visits a day from social service carers; it went up to 3 or 4, and now it’s at the maximum of 5 visits. What an incredible gift is a welfare system hey? Some hard decisions need to be made, by family members who see her way more often than I, but it’s me who has the Power of Attorney over her financial affairs and wellbeing. Mum knows I’m coming; she just can’t remember when. Usually I pop in for a few days, then head to France (Australia is a bloody long way from Europe after all), but this time I’m focusing solely on her. Having said that, I’m going to walk every day along the beach, join the gym …