Written on 16 February at Dublin airport.
'My last blog post was written at Heathrow as I arrived nice and early for my flight to Dublin and with time to kill. I managed to hit 'publish' on the plane before take-off in a bit if a rush! Here I am on my way home again waiting at the gate at Dublin airport for boarding but too early so I'm the only one here. Time to reflect on my short visit home and prepare to set my shoulders to the plough once more. Sad to leave my mother behind, but looking forward to seeing Roch and Tom again. I have been surprised by how tired I've felt in Dublin. I took every opportunity to rest and spent some long overdue catch up time with my mother. A couple of long walks in Marley Park with Maura, a meal out with family and a George Clooney DVD watched with his biggest fan (my mother) made for a quiet, uneventful trip.
I haven't worried about Roch in the hospice - we spoke half way through his stay and he was so pleased with the kindness and professionalism of the staff. All his fears had been put to rest.
The first day without him I emerged at first no longer as Roch's carer but as Crazy Cat Lady. It was freezing outside but I ventured out into the wintry garden air clad in pyjamas, cosy hooded dressingown, Wellington boots and sheepskin jacket. Accompanied by our cat, Oscar, beside himself with excitement, I took a tour in search of signs of Spring. A funny couple we must have made. In a bygone age we would have been branded a witch and her familiar. Oscar bounding ahead, then stopping to look over his shoulder at me, before dashing up the birch tree. I kept up a running commentary for his benefit. As I fixed and filled the bird feeder and hung it back on its branch he watched with feline approval. "Bait", he was probably thinking.
He nudged my arm as I took some photos of buds and flowers and seemed so pleased for the company. I am seriously beginning to think that I have been neglecting the emotional well being of that animal. A good session of chat and scratch and when I went for my bath, he disappeared to snooze the rest of the day away.
Ahh that bath. Although it was mid morning, I lit scented candles, filled the bath with bubbles and soaked for ages, listening to music which I deliberately played far too loud. Now it's not that Roch would object to any of this if he was at home but I just couldn't do it. I just wouldn't be able to relax like that. I have to be on hand, ready in case I'm needed. Certainly during the day. I could make sure Tom was around in the evening and yet there's nothing quite like having the house to yourself - just for a while.
I've been home since Saturday evening and Roch's been home since Monday. It's taken a few days to get back into our routine here but it's great to have him home and know that his hospice experience was a positive one. He had lots of visitors throughout the week and on Sunday, Tom and I brought him out for lunch at the nearby Prince of Wales pub, where we enjoyed the delicious food and lovely atmosphere. We had signed out at the hospice reception but didn't realise we had to tell the nursing staff too! They were practically forming search parties when we got back! Oops!
Thanks to Gerry who made sure Tom got to visit his Dad during the week and to everyone who made my visit home possible and Roch's stay so comfortable.
It's good to know that The Princess Alice is there for us.