My mother is not well. After a few weeks of feeling weak and having muscle pain she went to the doctor, only to be told that she has something serious. Terminal, in fact. They can do things to make her life a lot easier and put off the inevitable, but at some time in the next year or two it will claim her. It could be sooner rather than later, we just don't know.
She's in our local teaching hospital for a few nights at the moment for some tests, fortunately in good spirits due to feeling better after treatment. With luck we'll bring her home this evening, at which point she'll email my sisters. The last thing she or my dad wanted this week was them descending on the house as self-appointed angels of mercy to organise things that didn't need it.
It's important to put this into perspective. My mother is in her late 80s. At that age though you hope there could be many years to go the fact is that the probability of something serious cropping up gets higher with every year. And having seen my grandmother slip into dementia in her 90s several decades ago I'm acutely aware there are far worse ways to go. At least this way she retains her faculties and receives proper care right up to the end. It's a sad indictment of our society that the quality of your end-of-life care depends on the trigger words in your medical file.
My dad is his usual self, not really opening up. As luck would have it I've been at home this week, I can see I must make the effort to spend more time there from now on. Maybe a few nights every week.
It's something of an abrupt exercise in growing up.