Saturday, 2 February 2008


Jennifer called around today with a police car. She had offered to take me out to Balerno to visit my mum who I hadn't seen since this thing started, although I've phoned her at least twice a day.

Libby came with us and to say it was an emotional trip would be an understatement. Mum has never been over her doorstep since New Year. She has a fabulous neighbour who brings her shopping once a week and leaves it at her door. We were her first visitors but we kept our masks on and didn't touch her - which was remarkably difficult for us all (you realise in circumstances like this that physical contact can be so much more powerful than any words - particularly when that contact is prevented).

We talked for nearly three hours - about Kirsty and Graham and what we were doing at school. Mum had been a primary teacher in her time and had always loved to hear about what was happening at work. I was so pleased that she agreed with what we were doing and that she suppported me going back so early after Graham had died.

Mum is a stalwart of her local church and her faith had certainly helped to get her through this to date. She also had a large circle of friends but fear of visiting or going out had shut them off from each other. She had kept in touch via the phone but she described it being like "a tree losing it's leaves", as first one, and then another fell ill and died. Many of them had depended upon home visits and "Meals on Wheels" and these had stopped almost the moment "it" had broken out. The minister and some parishioners had tried to keep it going but he had died in the first fortnight and most of the others had either fallen ill or decided to lock themselves in their houses. Her circle had gradually declined until she was only really in contact with myself, one other friend and her neighbour - who never actually came into the house.

Eventually Jennifer knocked on the door and said she had to get the car back ot the station. To leave my Mum in that house without being able to hold or kiss her was one the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life.

When I got home I tried Graham's mum's residential home for what must have been the 100th time - my heart stopped when the phone was answered but it was only a recorded message telling me to phone a number at the local council. I tried this number but the reply said the office was closed and would be open on Monday. I think I know what's happened.

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