Twice a day I would go in to the hospital to visit mum. Occasionally she was her old lucid self, but she slept such a lot or was too much in discomfort to be able to concentrate on conversation. I’d bought her a coffee table book of Mauritius but she was too weak to hold it in her own hands. I held it for her as she tried to take in the pictures.
The routine of the hospital was ceaseless and how she was meant to get rest I had no idea – so many tests, cleaners, disturbance from other parts of the ward. Fortunately it was a fairly small room with only three or four other patients at any one time. And she was high in the building; the huge picture window next to her bed looked out over the city’s university quarter, the Roman Catholic Cathedral with its wigwam style reaching the central crown, and further away, the massive Anglican Cathedral, a huge sandstone block with enormous tower. To the right of this you looked down on the city centre itself, glimpses of the Mersey, the Wirral and the Clwydian Hills in the distance. The early cold snap had left snow across the tallest hills. At night the city was lit up, the floodlights on the cathedrals complimented by a green laser light between the two towers as part of the City of Culture events that year.
Although she had difficulty propping up to see it, it made for a comforting view – my mum’s life had been played out so much in this area. Although she was originally from the north of the city, this view to the south was where so much of her last 40 years had been conducted, where we lived, where she taught in several schools, where we shopped , got entertainment or walked dogs and friends. Excursions across the river, trips out. And all in all it was an expansive view and a lot of Mum’s later life had been taken up with seeing new views and travelling to lots of new places, often starting her journeys alone but coming back with a bookful of new contacts.