Moving back in time, to when I was starting my learning journey at the adult education centre (GCSE) my head and emotions were well and truly in turmoil. I began the course in September 2005 and just after that my mother became very dependent on myself, my wife and my children. Just to put you in the picture, when I first began dating my eventual wife, my mother took an instant dislike to her. I think the primary reason was that my mother could probably tell that I was growing away from home and she probably thought she was being replaced by another woman. She was very bitter, which caused a gulf to open up between us. Mother’s bitterness only forced me to dig my heels in and do what I wanted to do for me, regardless of her or anyone else. To give you an idea of the things my mother did to make my life difficult I will recount a couple of incidents. The first one was childish, dangerous and comical all rolled into one. My mother took every opportunity to call Angie horrible names, which to a greater extent, Angie allowed to bounce of her without little retaliation. However, that changed one afternoon when for a reason I will never know or understand, we blatantly witnessed my mother throw a glass bottle onto our back-door step and run back towards her house. What made her actions worse was that our 3 children were forever running in and out of the back door to play on the garden. Angie understandably saw red, she pushed past me, swearing and spitting in anger. I called to my mother that “She’s coming, and I’m not going to stop her this time”. Her door slammed shut and we heard the key turn in the lock. Angie banged on the door shouting for her to open the door, which, of course, she didn’t do. The actual sight of my mother disappearing on her broom with my girlfriend in hot pursuit is burnt into my memory because it was quite amusing. We laughed about it over the years on numerous occasions.
The other occasion that springs to mind was the Monday morning after we had got married on the Saturday. We couldn’t afford any type of honeymoon so we just went about our new married life as normal. We went to the local post office for something or other and my mother was there. She didn’t come to the wedding just because she didn’t want to and in front of everyone at the post office she shouted an obscene name at my wife. We didn’t react, we just walked away, and for a number of years after there was no contact between us, which was both a relief and a heartache.
Moving forward to when she became dependent on us, (We had made up our differences) my wife had inexplicably become the apple of my mother’s eye, mainly because she looked after her every need, which included shopping for her and bathing her. Over a few months before her demise my mother had lived with us because she had become almost entirely wheelchair bound, and on one particular weekend she became very confused and distant. We called a doctor who took one look at my mother and said immediately “How long has she been like this?” Not an hour later we drove her up to the hospital because she flatly refused to go in an ambulance. There was one hilarious incident that happened when she was admitted to hospital that still makes me smile, but it doesn’t amuse my wife. The nurses were helping my mother move her bowels behind a curtain on the ward when my mother shouted that she needed something from out of her handbag. My wife put her hand into the handbag and pulled out what appeared to be an old, dried up turd, and what was in fact, an old, dried up turd. The look on my wife’s face was priceless. Was she going to throw up? Was she going to scream? Was I going to fall on the floor with laughter?
It was such a surreal, “Carry on Nursing” moment, but it was something we kept between ourselves.
Two days later we were called to the hospital because my mother had deteriorated very quickly. When we arrived on the ward my mother was barely breathing. I sat down by her side and held her hand as my wife did the same thing on the other side of the bed. Unbelievably, she was slipping away and I, not thinking properly implored her not to leave. My wife brought me to my senses, and I quietly told my mum to go to her dad. I sobbed on her hand for a long time until I felt sure she was in her father’s arms.
The point of telling you this is that I believe destiny played a huge part in me meeting Angie simply because of, and in spite of, the heartache of the early years. My wife and my mother became great friends over the last few years of her life.
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