Tonight. my husband is visiting my elderly father in hospital.
I could not face it after a stressful weekend and then the things that need doing here towards getting ready for a long-planned 3 day break in Derbyshire and an imminent house move. That sounds very selfish I know.
I will go and visit tomorrow before leaving for the holiday. I have spoken to Dad on the telephone today and he seems in good spirits although like us all very frustrated by the lack of a diagnosis after 2 weeks of a quite devestating illness.
I am reminded at times like this that I am not my Mum.
I see family members looking to me to step into her shoes.
I can’t do it. In a crisis, she was amazing, had all bases covered and almost relished a project to tackle.
When family members however distant were in trouble she would take the lead in sorting things out and effectively too. This applied even if she had not spoken to said family members for weeks, months or years.
When Dad was here at the weekend, I made sure he ate and always had a drink. I kept an eye on him and tried to keep him stimulated as much as he could manage with conversation and laughter. That is hardly a huge effort for such a great man who has dedicated his whole being to his family for many decades.
I can cook a good meal like Mum could but I can’t put the huge effort in every day of the week. Sometimes fishfingers just has to do.
I put hours of housework in and yet I don’t seem to ever get on top of things. She had a system. I attack things randomly and never seem to get any further forward.
When I pegged out today, I was aware she would be appalled by the vaguely chaotic way in which I did it. Does it matter? The clothes will still dry on the line whether they are straight, inside out or whatever.
I am like Mum in some ways. When she died, I was determined to move mountains so that Dad could live with us. I searched for a year to find a house with an annex as he insisted on having independent living space and a kitchen for him to cook his own meals in.
Looking back, Mum cracked sometimes with everyone looking to her after her own mother died. It is tough when you have to be the responsible one and however much times have changed, that so often falls on women rather than men.
In the last 2 years, it would be nice if either of my brothers had sent a card or some flowers to say thanks for what you do but it has not happened. I did not expect it to.
As I said at BritMums Live and it raised a laugh, wouldn’t it be rather marvellous if husbands came home and said “Oh my! What wonderful hoovering you have done today!”
Mum didn’t just help her family. She was out there in the community running social groups for older people, cleaning the church and running fundraising coffee mornings. She never stopped.
I am not my Mum. I don’t have her superwoman quality and sometimes I need to take a break.
I am doing that tonight and listening to a wonderful blogger who told me today to take the next 3 days and to recharge my batteries.
Mabye me will have to do for the people around me. It is all I can be.