Xmas allsorts

I ended this blog last year by writing: “Here’s to a totally unexpected 2014” and that whatever it was, it wouldn’t be normal, as there is no normal.

Well, I was right – there’s been very little “expected” about this year at all, or indeed this Christmas.

To summarise Christmas week: it began by taking my mum to A&E for a long term health complaint that had made her very poorly; after a 4 and a half hour wait without seeing anyone I took her home again; and back the next day when she was admitted and put on a drip; then visiting every day, being told she could probably come home, then that she couldn’t; cooking a small ham to eat on Christmas Day instead of the turkey – delayed to eat with mum on Boxing Day; no mum on Boxing Day so a late dinner of turkey and all the trimmings on a tray in front of the TV – with the special Christmas mats, I might add!

With dad in a nursing home, Christmas Eve was spent visiting mum in hospital in the morning and dad in his care home in the afternoon. Driving between the two, I parked in an out of the way beauty spot to walk mum’s dog – only it turned out to be one of “those” beauty spots, where walking mum’s border terrier wasn’t the only canine activity being planned. Eek! You’ve never seen anyone exit a car park so quickly.

The year itself has been a strange mix of, on the downside: my husband John being diagnosed with and still recovering from a stroke; dealing with dad’s deteriorating dementia and what proved to be a care home nightmare; losing our 12-year-old Labrador collie cross dog Bella; seeing family and close friends cope with illness, trauma and sadness in their lives.

On the plus side: being overwhelmed by the kindness of friends, their care and concern; knowing that in general terms most people you encounter in the health and care services want to and do their best to help; being SO grateful and thankful for my own good health, never needed more than when someone else is poorly; being able to get out in the fresh air, exercise AND enjoy it; and really appreciating those magic moments in life – seeing a rainbow and a sun set, watching the flickering candles in our conservatory, and moments when the fates conspire to make something good happen, rather than something bad.

I bought the Big Issue on Christmas Eve from a young lad in Exeter High Street. We chatted briefly and I asked him how he would be spending Christmas Day. “Probably sitting here on the High Street,” he said. “I like to come here when there’s no-one about and just enjoy the peace and quiet.”

So you know what overall, I’d say it’s been a pretty good year – if I’ve wanted peace and quiet I’ve been able to find it somewhere, somehow most days, not wait for Christmas to look for it on a deserted shopping High Street.

Xmas can be allsorts to all people – if yours didn’t turn out as expected, I hope it still brought some peace and joy.

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