Tuesday, 1 April 2008

A small pause for thought

This is not a desperately emotional moment, but it is one of those occasions when you tend to rock back on your heels and reflect for a while. I'm not looking for sympathy, just letting you know what's going on.

My father and stepmother moved to southern Spain about 20 years ago, and we've visited them many times. He died about 5 years ago after a long period of increasing disability, but obviously, we continued to visit my stepmum. She was never really our sort of person, but we've known her for 30 years, so you get that sort of family relationship in which you might not like someone that much, but you care for them nonetheless, and we certainly did care for her, for all she might drive us mad! Anyway, she became increasingly frail over the past few years, and has fallen several times, which is bad news in an apartment with marble floors.

About 3 weeks ago, she fell once more, this time banging her head hard on the floor. She was taken into a local hospital, where she gradually deteriorated. I spoke to her early on, and she sounded OK, but later, when I phoned, she didn't pick up the phone. The hospital put me through, but she didn't answer. I assumed all was well, thinking that if it wasn't they'd say something.

Today I had a call from her niece, who went out there at the end of last week. Liz had taken a turn for the worse yesterday afternoon, and died around 3pm. It turned out she'd fractured her skull when she fell, though the hospital didn't actually tell anyone that. The only good news about this is that the niece had moved her into a really nice care home on Friday, and had had a good, lucid conversation with her on Saturday.

I suppose the only other good thing is that she was reasonably OK until about 3 weeks ago and probably didn't know too much about what was going on much of the time before she died.

And she had arranged her own funeral, and asked that her ashes be scattered where she'd scattered my father's ashes when he died. I remember she used to go down there and sit and talk to him. Atheist though I am, I can relate to that.


Polgara said...

My sympathies (even though you werent asking)
Pol x

Rob Clack said...

Thanks Pol. Appreciated. R

Jane.Dudman said...

Dear Rob, sorry to hear this. I know you've been thinking of Liz over the past few weeks.


DJ Kirkby said...

I feel much the same way about my step mum. I expect yours is glad to be with your dad again. You know I am no good with empathy kind of stuff but I am trying in my own way and I hope you are feeling okay about it all.

Rob Clack said...

Thanks Jane; 'tis true what you say.

DJ Your comment means much more to me just because I know a tiny bit about where you're starting from. Thanks, and yes, I am feeling OK about it.

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Dear Rob, that was both moving and beautifully expressed. I feel I know exactly how you felt about your Step-Mother, and there was genuine caring there. I'm so sorry, but as you say, her end was probably as good as it could have been, and we do hope she had a nice life. Love and thoughts M xx

Rob Clack said...

Margot thank you. You kicked me off into that curious spiral of reminiscences of all the good times we've had with my father and Liz. Many, many good times, particularly in and near their apartment on the Costa del Sol, but also going back to the late 70s, early 80s, before they moved to Spain.

And truthfully, some of the ricochets from that, like our visiting places like Granada and Cordoba, which we might well not have done, had they not moved to that part of the world.

Ain't life wonderful? (I don't mean good at all times, I mean literally, full of wonder!)

Sparx said...

Rob, I'm sorry to hear your news. Doesn't matter how close you were or anything, it's still just a shame.

Rob Clack said...

Thanks Sparx. It's interesting to note that although I think that when you die you just die and that's it, she didn't, and I was glad that when her niece collected her ashes after the cremation, she scattered them where my father's ashes were scattered. Somehow it feels better that because she believed they'd be together (and implicitly aware of the fact) it seems important to me that we did that. Not hard to suspend disbelief when it suits!

Rob Clack said...

Just re-read my last comment. Contorted or what?