Grief comes in unexpectedly
As my mother’s health improves, my grief seems to be receding. Sure, Mum may never get back to being the sparky, independent woman she has been all her life, but perhaps that matters less than we thought it did.
And watching over the last year the process of her gradual change, acknowledging how many personal mountains she has had to climb – not only losing her husband and her son, but having to move her home twice in less that eighteen months and make all the necessary personal adjustments – I appreciate her courage anew.
In her quieter moments, she remains an inspiration, and not for the reasons she might suppose: not for her physical strength, her purposefulness, her self-reliance, but for her resignation. Her stoicism, never her most obvious trait, is resurfacing in such a way that grief comes in unexpectedly. It pricks behind the eyes, occasionally overflows, but then it leaves again. And this has happened so much in the last few years, that I too am becoming more resigned.
I can’t pretend to understand the Whys of our situation. I can hope to make a small difference, and give my mother the hope that she will be heard, and that she will get better. I keep my fingers crossed, pray almost constantly, and hope for the best. Because when examined objectively, there has been nothing else we could have done that would procure a better outcome. The NHS – God bless it! – has proved itself a worthy champion of those in crisis; they have rescued my mother from death and from her habitual defeatism, they have given her the hope of a new lease of life as well as a long-overdue medical review, and today, they conceded that she could come home, after more than three weeks in their care.
So with the help of two members of staff, we packed my car this afternoon and drove home peacefully, and with gathering relief. There may be more grief to face, but at least we now have hope that we can face it on our own terms. Which is something else to be grateful for.
Thanks for listening.