Sunday, 31 March 2013

"I thought it would never happen

again," one of our friends told me softly. 
Just before two o'clock yesterday afternoon she had 'phoned as promised and asked, 
         "R's feeling good, can we come over?"
         "I'll put the kettle on," I told her.
We had planned this for days but it would all depend on how our elderly friend was feeling. She is the one who had the stroke just before Christmas. Until now her outings have been strictly of the medical kind. She had not been anywhere just for social purposes.
I had seen her in hospital and then at the rehabilitation unit and then at home but, like her younger cousin, I wondered if she would have the energy and the desire to go visiting.
They do not live too far away but getting in and out of the car and in and out of the house is a great effort for her. To do it just to go visiting is something that had to be thought about. We would have gone to her if she could not come to us but we thought it would be good for her - if she could do it.
I had the ingredients ready and made her favourite cheese scones and put the kettle on. How long would they be able to stay before she needed to leave. Her younger cousin thought she might manage to stay half an hour so everything needed to be ready.
They arrived. It took her over five minutes to walk from the front gate into the house with her walker. She looked tired by the time she sat in the chair she had always sat in when she came to visit but she smiled. 
Tea? She nodded and managed to say "please". 
The Senior Cat brought out the lovely scrapbook album he was given as a record of his 90th birthday party. She had been too ill to come to that but he told her that we were having another party now - just for her. She laughed. They bent their heads over the album and she slowly said the names of some of the people she recognised. The Senior Cat cannot understand what she says now. She speaks too softly for him to hear and it is almost impossible to understand most of the time. Her cousin understands and I understand but few other people do.  But she was smiling as she saw photographs of the Senior Cat's last two great-grandchildren for the first time. 
I made tea and asked her if, like me, it would be easier to hold a mug than a cup. She nodded and looked relieved. Her cousin poured it for her, made sure it was not too hot. Scone? Yes. We had to cut it into bite size pieces but she managed. 
The Senior Cat showed her what he had been making in the shed.
"Tim-ber?" she asked carefully.
"What sort? This one is something I have never used before..."
They stayed an hour. By then it was clear she was very tired, Getting back to the car was a real effort. She was falling asleep as her younger cousin hugged us goodbye.
The Senior Cat was tired too. "Don't know how I.... manages to do that all day," he told me shaking his head. He went off to the shed.
Our house was designed and built with the old age of my parents in mind. It was built without steps and has a number of other features designed for easier access. It means it can also be accessed by people with disabilities, especially older people with disabilities. Yesterday I was very glad of that. 
I was glad too that the Senior Cat has met a number of people with severe communication problems. He could sit there and talk with R and not just to her the way other people now do.
And there it was, as they were leaving, R's younger cousin telling me, "I thought it would never happen again."
It has - and it might still happen again. 


the fly in the web said...

That is superb...but it all depended on the timing. I'm so glad the lady enjoyed herself.

jeanfromcornwall said...

So good!

D.J. Kirkby said...

What a lovely post to read first thing on Easter Sunday. So heartwarming and a reminder of what is truly important.