I was born on a Wednesday. ‘Wednesday’s child is full of woe.’ I’ve lived for 2986 Wednesdays and can count on one hand the number of them that have been woeful. I have been blessed – a good man, two amazing children, the best two grandsons in the world. I’ve worked hard and earned enough to be comfortable in a job I truly enjoyed until the last few years. I’ve hopefully escaped the curse of breast cancer that took my mother in her early 50s. I plan to see many Wednesdays as I grow old disgracefully, but if not, I can’t complain.
She’d been my very best friend since school. We were always there for each other through good times and bad. It was only natural that she should be my Chief Bridesmaid and Godmother to our little girl. It was a bonus that she got on so well with you too. I could not have coped if she hadn’t liked my choice of husband. She stayed single. Never found the right man. The telltale signs were there but I didn’t see them until too late. You bought her what I really wanted for Christmas. Then hand in hand you both left without a backward glance.
What a week this has been. I lay in bed this morning thinking about the people who have touched my life over recent days. I came to the conclusion that it is those little things people do that make them stand out from the crowd. This week, I lost my mother-in-law. She had been ill for many weeks and wanted to be at home for her final days. This involved my husband, his sister and brother taking turns looking after her most personal needs and for the last two weeks, all three of them have done it together. Their love and care enabled her to have her last wishes and they would tell you that after all she had done for them, it was the least they could do for her. However, in these modern times, it isn’t the ‘norm’ for such intense care to happen from the family. When she finally slipped away peacefully this week, they were bereft. They knew it was coming but it didn’t make it any easier when it happened. Each of them can now return to their own families and receive some love and care for themselves. It was a hard few months and they deserve a bit of a break and some nurturing.
I, meanwhile, was at home keeping things together here. I have an elderly father too and he isn’t in the best of health. After 36 years of marriage, we still find it difficult to be apart (although the house was certainly quiet, neat and tidy while I was here on my own!) but my two daughters kept making sure that I was fine, popping by from time to time and having some quality time together. I have two very special girls and count my blessings that they turned out so caring and loving.
Then we come to Harriet and Scott…. Those of you who are not on Twitter will never be able to understand this, but Harriet is part of my Twitter following and Scott joined at a later date to see what it was all about. They live hundreds of miles away from me, I have never met them and yet I feel like I know them really well. Harriet lost her mum just over a year ago and then found out she was pregnant. She then found out that the pregnancy was twins and this was about the time that I first came into contact with her. We all followed her pregnancy with great interest and were delighted when she gave birth to two beautiful little girls. My heart went out to her that her mum wasn’t there for her. When my daughter gave birth both times I was there. A girl needs a mother at this time. Each day we kept up to date with how the girls were doing, Scott losing his job, Scott getting a new job, and then silence. Three days with no tweets. It turned out that one of the babies was ill and after rushing her to hospital it transpired that she was extremely ill – meningitis. Once the news broke on Twitter there was a flood of responses. Candles were lit, prayers said, support came from all corners. Naturally Harriet and Scott didn’t have the time or inclination to check Twitter – they just wanted to be with their very ill baby. They didn’t get the chance to eat or sleep properly and, of course, felt guilty and sad at not spending time with her sister. By this week, they were told to say their goodbyes and imprints of her hands and feet were made. They had the girls christened in hospital. I remember getting a text message from Harriet to say the baby wasn’t expected to live the night. Still the messages of support flooded in. A Just Giving account was set up to raise funds for The Meningitis Trust and people asked what they could do in a more practical way to help.
Then suddenly, the baby made some improvement and was taken off sedation to see how she would cope. Within two days, she was being fed by mummy. Today, she has had all of her tubes and wires removed and the hospital is talking about her going home tomorrow. Needless to say, everyone is so excited. Of course, she will need to undergo tests to see if there have been any long-term effects so Harriet and Scott know that she is not completely out of the woods yet. But getting her home with them for endless cuddles and time back with her sister is vitally important to this lovely family.
The point of all this is – for me, this has been a rollercoaster week for emotions, but the goodness of fantastic people have made it bearable and lifted my spirits when things were bad. There are many, many brilliant people out there and I am sending you all a virtual hug for the lovely things you do. For their courage and determination when they didn’t have a shred of energy left, I salute Harriet and Scott and I hope to meet you in person one day. To my two lovely daughters, your love and support is the most precious thing a mum can have. To my husband, I may not always say out loud how I feel but I am so proud of you and your sister and brother for the way you made your mum’s last few weeks so comfortable when inside you were torn apart. And to Hazel – if you can hear this wherever good people go when they leave us here – I couldn’t have asked for a better mother-in-law than you. I hope that you are now back in Joe’s arms where you belong. We will miss you terribly.
So, the task this week is one I am most definitely not comfortable with. We were to take one of last week’s writings and act as critic. Those who know me will appreciate that it is not something I enjoy doing. However, fearing the Wrath of Julia, I had to give it a try.
I chose Ross Mannell’s writing ‘The Glider’ which I particularly enjoyed.
‘No aeroplane for me! I enjoy the freedom of the air passing as I glide through the clouds drifting high above the waters made aquamarine by the reflection of light. What greater freedom than alone above the world’s worries?
Aghast, I acted on instinct after the initial shock of the earthward plummet. Pulling back on the stick and adjusting yaw, the pitch of the glider started to level the craft. The downward fall had allowed me enough speed to regain height.
The ground now much too close and my landing field too distant, sweat beaded my brow.
“This glider simulation software is brilliant!”’
I really enjoyed reading Ross’ piece. I was there with him feeling the air, looking down at the water and reflections. I was startled as the glider plummeted, reassured as he took control. I sensed that all was well until I noticed the beads of sweat on his brow. His writing took me on this amazing ride and then just as I was sensing terrible disaster, he made me laugh out loud with the final sentence. It takes a really good writer to make you feel like you were there. I applaud this ability and look forward to reading more.
The photos you can see to the right are the candles we all lit tonight at 7pm to show support for Scott, Harriet, Hollie and Alice. Hollie, who is Alice’s twin sister, is very ill in hospital. We are hoping and praying that she will recover and they can all be together at home again as soon as possible. Please spare some time to think about them and pray for Hollie’s fight against meningitis.
This weeks 100 Word Challenge for Grown-Ups can be found here:
105 words including the 5 prompt words Aghast Aquamarine Aeroplane Acted After
Her eyes were hard chips of aquamarinewhere no warmth or comfort could be found. There were no outward signs of emotion, no tears, no demonstration of regret. He was aghast at her frozen reaction to this terrible situation. It was as though she had acted this scene out and that in her mind it was merely make believe. After he had removed the weapon from the scene, he led her from the building to the car. She still showed no reaction. Even as an aeroplane roared overhead the ice cold eyes continued to stare ahead, noticing nothing, oblivious to everything in the real world.
They are all looking so pleased with themselves. It’s no wonder – loving parents, comfortable homes, everything they ever wanted. When they finish this shift in the store, they will be drawn like moths into the rosy glow of the bosom of their family, ready to begin their festivities. But what will I be going home to? The lies I’ve told about my ‘family’ to try and fit in with these girls. Little do they know that the home I will return to will bring me tears and pain as I try to endure the awful things that go on there.
If you would like to give it a go, you can find this week’s prompt here: