Or so it seems lately. I've spent a bit of time sitting with my MIL in her hospital room. Her daughter (L) is there all day every day as is my FIL. Her daughter's daughter (N) is also there most times. They live in the same town as the hospital so have taken time off work to be with their Mum and Nanna.
We sit and chat to each other over the tiny (once very large) frame of my MIL in her hospital bed. She's comfortable due to the amazing moving mattress under her and the machine which blows warm air into a ducted bubble blanket made of light plastic.
We hover and watch her and respond to any movement, sound, anything she does to see if she wants something.
L is amazing, a very capable person who feeds her mum, turns her over, helps her to the toilet and sits with her all day. I'm not good at that sort of thing, though I am getting better. I guess its practice. Although my own mum spent her last days battling cancer in a nursing home in Perth, I was too far away to be there as much as I would have liked. Mum's cancer moved to her brain, so she wasn't lucid in her final days.
I'm there when I can, but I still have the two boys (C) and (M) and DH (S) at home. The boys are both working on the farm, and S is out doing contracting work, so they all need clothes washed and tea cooked. My house looks like a bomb hit it, but it's not important at the moment.
(I asked my BF (K) to help me clean my FIL's house. She went in and cleaned it while I was at the hospital, plus she cooked soup and lasagne for our tea, took my washing off the line and folded it up. What a sweetie, I hope I can do the same for her when she needs help.)
MIL is quite with it and listens and responds to our chatter. She told L to stop putting words in her mouth. She's interested in what's happening on the farm, what the boys are doing and where abouts my DD (J) is on her trip to New Zealand.
I took photos of J's Deb Ball in yesterday and she loved looking at them. It's handy to have things like photos there so that when people who come in find conversation awkward, she'll ask L to get the photos out.
We also have a visitors book, an idea MIL got from her stay in RPH when the lady in the next bed had one. We started with a pad, but L bought a proper book which we transferred all the names to. Even people who've phoned or simply passed on messages are included.
I'm disappointed there aren't as many names in there as should be. MIL has been the most kind-hearted and generous woman over the years in this town. Countless people have benefited from her generosity. People say that they don't want to see her like that, but I say "Stop thinking about yourself and your feelings and think of hers and FIL's."
Of course it's hard, but that's life...and death.
I took a lemon cake I'd made in to the hospital yesterday and MIL even had some. It was mainly for FIL as the hospital only hands out packet bickies with cups of tea and he loves his cake.
I'm taking the wool estimates in today to show FIL. Our wool is to be auctioned next week and the tests revealed an excellent sample, so she'll be really pleased about that. We'll have to read it out to her. Since we're so desperate for rain for our crops and harvest isn't looking promsing, at least there's something positive happening on the farm...