Mum’s happiness is the most important thing in the world to us now, and a weekend of laughter is the perfect tonic.
Making every day count isn’t about making every day big. Every day is a memory, and the small things matter just as much as – if not more than – the big.
I was so scared on Friday when I was on the train, as my last post described. I didn’t know what awaited me, and I didn’t know what was going to happen. All I knew was we were going to have difficult conversations, about funeral arrangements and her will. I thought this weekend would be nothing but pain.
Thankfully it wasn’t. There was so much happiness. Although Mum’s face seems to have dropped slightly as the nerves in her face deteriorate, her smile still beams and her laugh is still loud. Silly things will capture her attention and make her roar, partly because she appreciates them so much more. Things like back to back repeats of Only Fools & Horses on UKTV Gold. Ten episodes she made me sit through! Ten!
Her greatest joy in life – besides, hopefully, her quite frankly brilliant daughters – is her pug, Oscar. I’m sure he will be featured a lot on my blog. He’s nine years old and the perfect companion for my mum – he’s bonkers. He is a daft little thing, just like my mum. My dad bought him when he was six weeks old after my mum had a breakdown. They’ve been thick as thieves ever since.
On Sunday she walked into the room to see my sister and I sat on the sofa, with Oscar cuddled up between us, and she just stood and looked at us for a while. It made her so happy. The poor pug has kennel cough at the moment, so is having even more cuddles and care – but that didn’t stop us tickling him when he was rolling on the floor. He laughs when you tickle him, and that made my mum laugh endlessly. Her fiancées dog, Sam, made her laugh just by playing fetch. The small things that we used to overlook are so important to her now, and it gives me hope to see that joy in her face.
Days out don’t have to be big things too. Saturday was such a random day, but one I’m going to treasure, purely because of how absurd it was.
I arrived at her house at 10am and she was sat with Oscar on her knee, an ice lolly in her hand, still in her pyjamas. I jokingly chastised her for her laziness, telling her that she’s not a teenager anymore. Then I asked her what she wanted to do with the day. ‘I want to see the planes,’ she said.
At Leeds Bradford airport, there is a café which allows you to look out onto the runway, so we went there for some lunch. She had salmon and scrambled eggs, which she ate very slowly, and the waitress gave us an odd look when she saw the glue-like substance Mum has to drink.
She was excited in a way I simply cannot understand. For me, they’re just machines doing their job. She was like a child, gasping and exclaiming, pointing and giddily shouting ‘Look!’
She was naming the airlines, and refused to let us leave until she had watched a plane take off and another plane land.
It was bloody freezing! Mum was wrapped up in four layers, so she didn’t feel the cold, but I certainly did. The wind was whipping my hair into my face, and my ears felt like they were red raw. She wasn’t fussed. She just stood by the fence watching them.
‘Aren’t they amazing? Don’t you think it’s incredible, that they can fly?’ To be honest, not really, Mum.
The wind oddly did her some good. We discovered on Thursday that she has high levels of carbon dioxide in her blood, which is a result of her difficulty breathing on a night. It has made her feel tired through the day, and weak. All that wind, all that fresh air, really rejuvenated her. In a way, I think all the extra oxygen running around her system fuelled her excitement. She felt so much better in every way.
Perhaps that was the best part of the weekend? Her happiness has made me feel better, and I’m looking forward to seeing her again in two weeks. But knowing that the forging of memories, a special day out, was also helping her feel better was pretty good.
I love her so much. She is uniquely barmy. I wouldn’t change her for the world.