Thursday, 31 March 2011

ever hopeful x

Good evening folks, sorry for not blogging, but I have been elsewhere.
My real Dad, Reg, died very young aged just 39. This was in 1972 and he died from heart problems and smoking related diseases. At the time medical knowledge of the impact of smoking wasn’t as advanced as it is now, and although they knew it was harmful, they advised him when ill not to smoke, but he did and it killed him.
My Mum was just 36, my brother Steve (who sadly died 2 years ago) was 13 and I was just 6. Mum was a trooper from what I can remember, having several jobs and getting by ok. No credit in those days, but we never went without.
Some years later my Mum met Barry at a divorced and widowers ‘dance’ where she used to take me on a Saturday evening. Barry and my Mum soon became an item and quite a few years later he moved in with us when we all moved to a bigger house. Now, me being a typical teenager, was an absolute cow sometimes, and needless to say, we didn’t always see eye to eye. In fact it wasn’t until I reached 16 or 17 that I began to appreciate him for the step dad he had become. Barry and my Mum eventually married in 1987 after being together for many, many years and between the lot of us there are many children, grand children and even a great grand daughter!
Barry is a proper mad DIY-er and even a bit fanatical with it. He definitely make-do-and-mends, putting extra bolts, hinges and booby traps on everything possible. Even at almost 80, the other day he was adding extra strong bolts to an iron garden gate, not that the original bolts were inadequate, but he just wanted to ‘make it stronger’! His sheds of tools, jars of screws and rawplugs, bits of wood and shed-drain-water-diversion-system  is the subject of much hilarity. Bless him.
However, at 2.51 am this Tuesday morning, my Mum rang in great distress. The ambulance had been called and she was waiting for them with the door propped open, at my Dads side.  I say ‘Dad’ because he is my Dad, he has been my step Dad for 38 years and despite my teenage turbulence he has been there for me, and my family too.
Chris, my partner and I beat the ambulance to the hospital and as we walked towards the door, we saw them pull up. Dad was quiet, Mum was stunned, and they rushed him into rescus. After the initial panic to stabilise him, it turns out that Dad has had a pretty massive stroke, however at the time it wasn’t apparent just how devastating this was to be.
The bedside vigil, tests, doctors, scans and some considerable hours later, my Dad is admitted to a specialist stroke unit and I guess here is where the long haul of rehabilitation begins.  He is still very poorly, it looks as though it was a bi-lateral stroke (both sides) as he cannot move. He can open his eyes, acknowledge us there, cries from time to time, and sighs quite a lot.
Since 2.51 am on Tuesday morning, life has taken another strange twist and turn. All of a sudden nothing else matters. What matters now is that my Dad has every opportunity to improve, and hopefully get better. He wont ever be the same again, we know that, but we want him around even if we have to hide his power drill.
Today he seemed a tiny bit brighter. He was on slightly less oxygen and it looks as though he was trying to swallow. These tiny steps are progress. We want him to pick up his paper and wave his finger at us, but for now I guess that will have to wait.
So, I leave this post to say I have so much to be grateful for, and so, so much to hope for too.
Get well soon Dad

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Happy Birthday Gran

Today is my Grans birthday and if she were here she would be 102 years old! Her name was Margaret Jane and I have her middle name, as does my daughter Laura and I am secretly hoping that Laura will carry on the tradition.

My Gran was born in 1909 in Longford, Coventry and had a hard life. Widowed young with three children, Gran worked as a post lady from a small post office in Longford. My mum can remember going with her during school holidays and helping sort the post, then onto her round until lunchtime.
Gran had a lovely garden and grew her own veg and as a child I can remember her home in St Giles Road, Ash Green. Her lovely old home, etched in my memory, was simply furnished with useful furniture, no washing machine just a sink and mangle, no fridge just stone floored pantry, brightly coloured linoleum floor and open fire. I used to toast crusty bread on a bent wire toasting fork over that fire, whilst sifting through an old silver teapot that Gran collected bits in (buttons, badges, old coins and trinkets picked from the road) me – a magpie for old nick nacks even then.
Gran was a proud woman, who asked for nothing and gave so much. She never married again, but raised my Uncle Reg,  sadly no longer with us, my lovely Uncle Dave and my fabulous mum without any social security as there was no such thing in those days. You lived simply, made your own, mended and mum can remember them picking up coal dropped in the road from the cart and taking it home to keep warm with. Any why not?

(Gran, My Uncle Dave, My Mum)
Gran rode her bike everywhere, and in her later years she used it to ride up to Wheelwright Lane school where she became the after school cleaner. My mum was the cook and my gran the cleaner and gran occasionally helped out on the school crossing. Gran rode her bike until 1980 and as her eyesight failed she gave it up, eventually moving into Bedworth into the Grove sheltered housing. I wonder what she’d make of the town now?  Sadly Gran left us when my children were young so they don’t have too many of their own memories, so I pass on my own.

 Happy Birthday Gran