A recent trip north to see my family, to say hi to Mum, finds her ensconced in her slippers, reading a not very good book – which she is determined to finish – and the rest of my family hard at work on household chores or employment elsewhere. A big house takes a lot of tending.
To join in the spirit of the gathering, I have also brought my work, which means that after an amazing two-hour drive – through torrential rain between Edinburgh and Kinross and then out onto quiet roads in bright, calm sunshine – we all now sit in companionable peace, not needing to be entertained but all pleased and doing our own thing. I am glad to be able to report that Mum is settled, and with her new glasses and finally sleeping well, she looks and seems better than in about two years. Come to think of it, since before my father died, and before all those notaries – my mother, in jest, refers to them as notary 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A and 3B… – started variously raising our hopes and dashing them.
In the legal morass there have been several heroes and heroines – thank God! – foremost among them my eldest sister, and my mother, who has borne it all, through intense grief, with courage and her trademark sardonic stoicism.
It is wonderful to be here now, and to reflect that all is growing into new beginnings, just as the Spring is about to take hold. I have high hopes for 2018, and not just because all our legal troubles are – hopefully – coming to a close, but because, unexpectedly, we have all weathered them so well and come through stronger, more peaceful and more kind with each other. For which I am so grateful.