The Ankle Deep Sea – See you in a few weeks.

Between hospital visits I was able to set myself up on the dining table (now in the living room) and work on mapping the lagoons around the Morne in Mauritius.  I also took a couple of drives and walks around childhood haunts in Liverpool.  Mum improved considerably over those few days, she had taken to eating again, for a few days she had been solely on a drip.  Her colour had come back into the cheeks.  We all knew she would not get better, but we thought she could be discharged from hospital and receive palliative care from home for at least a few more weeks.  I only had three more weeks of work to do in Mauritius before the end of my contract, and, as had happened several times when I had a large chunk of work for months on end, no immediate contracts to get going on immediately afterwards.  I could come back from Mauritius and move up to Liverpool for a few weeks to help look after mum at home.  With everything looking relatively positive, I confirmed my return flight to Mauritius and rebooked the Air Mauritius flight straight on to Rodrigues a few hours after I landed.

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St George’s Hall

That last evening I was in Liverpool, Christopher had something else he needed to do, so I went to the hospital alone.  To avoid the high charges of the car park, I parked over in the terrace streets of the Kensington district, and walked down to the main entrance, up in the lift and found mum snoozing in her bed.  In that hour she slept more than she was awake, and when conscious, we dealt with just routine things like giving her some mouthwash to clear her palate.  I held her hand throughout. We briefly talked about my plan to go back to work then come up to Liverpool to look after her in November.  As I left the hospital, I tried to be cheerful to the staff in the ward, but could not hold back the tears as I walked back to the car.  For some reason I didn’t go straight home, but drove round the city centre; past the St George’s Hall, then down Leeds Street to the waterfront and passed the Pier Head and Albert Dock, then, with the floodlit Anglican Cathedral looming down, turned south back to the old family home.

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Liverpool’s waterfront – impressive day and night

The Ankle Deep Sea -The View from the Hospital

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.

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Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral from the river – the Hospital is a mile to the north of the cathedral

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.