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Family visiting…

In the month that I haven’t posted, I’ve revised another post 23 times. I hope eventually I’ll work out how to write and post it, but it’s not ready yet. I have also been on holiday back to my hometown, visiting family, friends and my Father-in-law in hospital.
Here are some of the moments I will cherish.


As Mum knocks on the door, the familiar anxiety gnaws at my stomach. Is Albert going to get out? Albert’s been dead a long time now, but that dog used to tinge each visit to Grandad’s with fear. It seems odd Grandad not having a dog.

I wonder whether he’ll recognise me. It’s been almost nine years since I’ve seen him. Appalling, I know. For a long time, however my Mum would take Seth or Freya with her, I always had to stay and look after Con. Con would never have coped at Grandad’s.

Will he be cross with me for not having visited? The door opens. My Grandad beams at me (an overwhelming gush of emotion in a house where, strangers are acknowledged by a handshake, but family are simply included in a continuing conversation, without their arrival being commented on).

“You’n been a stranger. Ya dunna need do that again.” (With a smile)
Then straight back into the horse racing.

Hospital visiting

(Simon to his Dad) “She’s been drinking your whisky.”
David leans towards me and winks: “She’s allowed, she’s my daughter-in law”.

* * * * * *

“Would you like a beer?”
“Does Janet know?”
“We’ve got one that won’t mess up your meds.”
“What if the nurses see?”
“Come onto the balcony with us.”
Chuckling he gets up and oh so slowly we ‘sneak’ outside for a non-
alcoholic beer in the evening sun. 330ml of fluid into him, no problem.
Smiling and winking all the time as he plays along with our being
naughty charade. I can’t help but smile whenever I think about it.

* * * * * *

David sees Janet arrive, smiles and winks at her…

After a couple of hours sat half-dozing together in neighbouring arm chairs, holding hands, Janet walks David back to his bed. I follow behind with the afternoon’s debris. I realise I am smiling at how sweet this couple are being with one another and catch the eye of a nurse doing just the same.

Teddy Bears

When she’s not knitting blankets for old people, my 96 year old grandmother-in-law knits trauma teddies. Her daughter then has to sew them up and stuff them. I did three one afternoon and then sat with Eileen who was delighted to see the bears plump.

“You’ve given them different expressions”, she laughed. “I like the sly one.”

Filed under: Musings

About the Author

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A priest and poet in the Scottish Episcopal Church, exploring the workings of the Holy Spirit in Penicuik and West Linton.

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