Originally Posted - 21 Mar 2009
She has arrived.
My Mother-In-Law. Known as MIL from now on.
MIL lives in Antigua, we last visited her in 2002 but sadly as both our girls now are considered adults for air fares it has been prohibitively expensive for all of us to visit her since.
She has been back to England twice in the following years and we have seen her as often as possible with committments such as work and school.
She has now had a stroke and is unwell. My Brother-In-Law (BIL) has been over to see her and found her in a bad way, he has stayed with her for 6 weeks while she gained strength enough to make the journey 'home' and she has arrived here this morning.
It has been decided that to give him a much needed break from playing nursemaid and to give him and his wife some time together she is to stop, at least for the time being, with us.
My youngest has vacated her room for her and we will settle her in later, the eldest has arranged to stop over at her boyfriends for the coming week (4 doors down the road so she will still be about)so her sister can be in her room.
We have settled her in and given her breakfast, her tablets for the day and a cup of tea. And now she sleeps.
Hubby is tired as he drove to pick them up from airport, a 3 hour journey to meet a 5.30am flight arrival. So while she sleeps I have sent him back up to bed.
And I watch her sleep.
We are not sure of her age, she has always been very secretive, denying her age to carry on working well past the usual retirement age. She had come to this country back in 1961 on her sisters passport and birth certificate, a sister 10 years her senior? So she is anywhere between 75 and 85 we are not sure, and it really doesn't seem relevant as she reclines on my sofa, soft blanket over her, her greying hair showing clearly in the absence of help to get it coloured, no longer the fiesty fierce talking spritely woman I have known almost half my life, but now a frail, fragile and confused old lady.
And I watch her sleep. I tiptoe around my own home as I did when bringing my first newborn home, afraid to wake her, knowing she was safe while sleeping, cursing the phone ringing or the doorbell, secure in the knowledge that her sleep meant she did not need me. Safe. I feel that now.
She has arrived and I don't know quite what her future holds, or ours, but I feel that her arrival might mark a new closeness for me and Hubby, our common goal to make MIL feel loved and safe and cared for.