Sunday 13th July
My mum and I spent the weekend at the beach with her best friend, Rachel and Rachel’s older sister, Trish. Rachel owns a cottage on the sea-front, so we stayed there together.
I was nervous of going away, there were so many things to think about or that could go wrong, but Rachel is one of those women to whom nothing is impossible. I admire her, she always seems at ease and in control. She balances raising a family, running a multi-million pound company and caring for friends and extended family, like my mum, whilst rocking skinny jeans and heels. I felt like I could let go this weekend, I didn’t need to babysit or worry about my mum constantly, as Rachel and Trish were more than capable.
It was a very chilled holiday, we mostly walked around the town and along the promenade, browsing the shops and eating ice-cream. I bought lots of new work clothes (my work contract finishes this month but Rachel has offered to take me on as an apprentice with her company!), and my mum got some new clothes which she loves. We wanted this holiday to be special.
This afternoon, we visited Sandringham, where the Queen lives, and wandered around the house. My mum was getting pretty tired by this point, and started being rude, before falling asleep in the wheelchair. I used to feel self-conscious, and want to apologise and explain that my mum is not normally like this, the cancer and the medication has had some strange effects on her, but now I don’t worry. What they think isn’t important, my mum is.
We finished off by going to a cute little clothes shop, where Trish found a hippy skirt for me. My mum loved it instantly and told me to buy it. It was quite expensive and I was starting to wonder how much money I had left on my card, but my mum seemed to really like it. She calls me her hippy chick; my two sisters are much more in tune with fashion trends and designer gear, but I prefer to pick up clothes in charity shops, especially if there’s something different or quirky about them. I’ve been looking through my mum’s photo’s and listening to her friend’s stories and it would seem we are two of a kind.
My mum did some strange things whilst we were there. Rachel, mum and I shared a bedroom and Rachel put a commode in there so that my mum wouldn’t have to make the dangerous trip to the bathroom on her own. It seemed to work, except that my mum kept finding excuses to try and leave the room. At 6am, we found her standing at the top of the stairs waiting for someone to wake up and make her tea. Rachel did it, just so we could put her back to bed. She is very wobbly and has no hope of getting down those stairs alone. I found the nights so much easier knowing Rachel was there to help too, and when I didn’t wake to my mum’s escape attempts, Rachel did. My Mum never seemed to sleep whilst we were there; she sat in bed writing incessantly in her little notebook. I wanted to see what she was writing but I was so tired that when I woke I would open my eyes briefly to see if she was in bed, and then turn and fall back to sleep. On the last morning I looked through her little notepad to find amongst poems, a long, painful letter she had written to her long-lost sister; she had obviously forgotten that we are now in contact. I wish I’d had the energy to crawl into bed with her the night before and read what she was writing; maybe I could of comforted her.
My mum slept most of the way home, but then when she woke, she cried. She said that the holiday had been so special and she had enjoyed it so much, but she was frightened it would be her last. Rachel promised to take her to the beach again later in the Summer, and to visit London in the meantime.
She’s asleep upstairs now. I wonder if she’s dreaming of the beach.