February 21st 2012
What strange times we are living through at the moment. So many discoveries, so many challenges, and all in a foreign country. I know this is my ‘homeland’ but the fact we have moved 11 times, in the 10 years we have been together bears witness to the fact that we have never seen ourselves as having a real ‘home’. Except for the small, insignificant village of St Martin de Seignanx. Where we moved twice, as we had finally found somewhere for the long term, somewhere to grow some roots, set up home, gardening, animals, children happily bilingual at school, sharing in another culture, speaking another language, tackling life in a very different way.
The move back to England has hit me harder than I expected. It has been, for me, the hardest part of our journey so far. I feel like a real grown up! I have moved house and countries with 4 kids, and am trying hard to get the kids into a routine, keep them happy and stable, and tackle all the difficult things without their eyes seeing the depth of concern and feelings of loss in my own.
They are loving school, although Lola is very quiet, and cries sometimes at school as she is finding she is behind the others in terms of reading and writing in English, which knocks her confidence. She is very serious about her work, very applied, works hard, and was top of her class in France, so this is a difficult adaptation period for her. Mitzi is loving discovering the joys of arts and craft and music and assemblies being part of the curriculum in England, as is Monty, they are thriving. As is Lola, but I see it is harder for her.
Esmie follows me around all day, as I drag her around the meetings with the Citizen’s Advice Bureaux, various important phone calls, asking me when she is going to school, when her school starts, expecting every building we go into to be her new school. She looks up at me, my little gorgeous cheeks, with her back pack on her back and snack bag, never relinquishing them, asking every time we get in the car if we are going to her new school. So far, I have not found her a place in a nursery. Although I won’t be defeated!
I feel no rest bite, and like my life is rolling on from day to day visiting you with kids, with Esmie if I go during school hours, organising what we are going to do about the fact there is no bed for you in the re-education centre. This has been a huge challenge. I was told it could take months. I have thus decided to take it upon myself to train myself in some physiotherapy techniques to help you, with the aid of your cousin Mel who is a physio, and we have a meeting on Friday afternoon for this. I had a meeting with the speech therapist today to see what I can do to help you too, to move you in the right direction. It seems to be getting tongue strength, so I have suggested swabbing your mouth with different tastes, as for five months you have had ‘nil by mouth’ hanging above your head. You seem to love this, and love gritting down on the swab with your strong teeth playing. Enjoying taste sensations and wetting your mouth, which stays with out water or food, and I can only imagine your desperation for just some fluid in your mouth.
I am going to organise a family meeting to see who can go in, what days, and what each of us can do to aid your recovery.
What terrifies me is that the longer you stay being ‘unre-educated’ the harder and the slower the process will be. It is extremely important that the minute a patient in your condition can be re-educated, that they are, giving the brain stimulation from the word go, this has higher success rates for the future, so without despairing too much about future consequences, this has made me very low, as I see your arms re-retracting in the pose they were in ICU.
I can only do what I can do, but I am flat out with it all, and the kids, and the house!, and house hunting... It all rolls into one, I never seem to know what day it is, and I get woken many times in the night by Mitzi and Esmie, who are at the moment sharing a mattress on the floor as I await bunk beds to arrive in a few weeks. My nights are turbulent, plagued by nonsensical nightmares, my evenings grieving for your touch, your presence, your conversation.
I saw you today, and you woke in an hour and a half for just five minutes, you open your eyes, and look serene, feeling my love, and you nod as I ask you if you still love me, smiling, obviously still loving me. You are so happy to wake up to me being there, your gorgeous innocent look of pleasure at my presence lifts me.
Things are not as I would have expected here, and I do wonder if I have made a big mistake…after all, it may have been in French, but you were at least getting the re-education, crucial to you at this stage.
You are now on a general ward, which makes it very difficult for the visits with the kids.
But I remain positive, I have to. I have to see good things happening not far away, I wait patiently for them.
I wait patiently for you…I will have you one day, I know I will, I just wish I knew when…
I will be back in tomorrow with the kids after school, and I cannot wait to see you, it’s my very favourite time of day…
I love you more than I can ever express…