Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The last two weeks have been a blur for Meredith and me. Our Mum had a fall, and is in hospital with complications. I have been here in South Australia for two weeks, trying to shield Meredith from the brunt of dealing with Mum during the worst of the post-surgical stuff. I will go home in a week and Mereth will be left as the only family available, so I don't want her to get burned out at the start of the whole thing. Basically we just need to make sure that Mum is comfortable and as mobile as possible and then deal with life one day at a time.

The picture is a corner of the hospital where Mum is. It's a beautiful old building, 2 years younger than she is, and I love the honey coloured stone and the wide verandahs.

It's the middle of winter here, but in the tropics where I live we were still wearing T-shirts. I'm f.f.f.freezing here! But I'm enjoying it too, because I like everything that goes with the cold weather; knitting in front of the fire, toasting things above the coals, walking the streets at sunset and seeing the trees light up in the setting sun. I love homemade soup and bread at night, and the kitchen warm from the stove.

Mereth's house is very cold, being stone, and the rooms are so huge that they don't warm up easily. We've been living in the sunroom, round the woodstove, and it's been very pleasant, except for the squabbles over who's turn it is to run out and make coffee! I have finished another pair of socks, and now I'm knitting a shawl which is demanding all my attention so I don't make a mistake with the 400-odd stitches. But I'm glad that I have something to keep me busy.

There has been no time for sewing, or sitting in the sewing room, which is a bit sad. Still, I'm just glad that we are able to be together. The locals can't quite believe there are two of us. I need to get a T-shirt printed saying 'I'm The Other One'. So many people see me and launch into detailed conversation, while I try to butt in and explain that I actually don't know them from a bar of soap. It can be a bit difficult. And we don't look all that much alike, we just have the same shape and the same features and people assume I must be Mereth.

The rellies have been coming to visit Mum, and we must look an odd sight all together. Everyone is around 5' tall, and roundish, and grey-haired. All of us would fit right into Hobbiton without attracting a second look. Two of my aunts who married into the family were around the 5'10" mark when younger, which injected a bit of much needed height into the cousins, but now they have shrunk down too. The earth must have a strong pull on us.

Just for the record, Mereth and I had 12 uncles and 10 aunts. (We just had an argument over that, because I'd missed out one of the aunties and had to amend the count.) We can't name our cousins without a family tree to count them all up. It is intruiging to be part of such a large family, but complicated too, especially when some of the uncles aren't talking to the others. Arguments about rabbit traps, firewood and fishing nets can occupy them for years....


quiltpixie 7:55 PM  

sorry to hear about your mom. It is good that you're there to help for while, because your right, the kind of support you provide long distance is very different..

Anonymous,  10:29 PM  

Sorry about your mum, but it's good she can have family around. I love those old buildings and "winter" trees. Yep - I really miss the cold weather. Winter in Qld just isn't the same :-)

Eileen 4:30 AM  

Hope your mom is up and around soon, and it's good that you and your sister can take care of her together.

ForestJane 9:34 PM  

Ohh, sorry bout your mom, hope she gets better soon!

Your huge family sounds like fun, rabbit arguments and all!

Laura 6:10 PM  

So sorry to hear about your mom, but so nice of you to go help your sister out! Take Care!

Anonymous,  2:23 AM  

I'm sure your mum will settle in well - the hospital looks very nice. Ah, the Adelaide trees and houses - I really miss them! And big families are wonderful aren't they, even with their foibles :-)

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