As I sat at the bus stop, waiting for the 603 to take me to the home, Bjorn, my landlord, came over and sat with me. At first he offered me a lift, which I politely declined – it’s quite difficult explaining to people that I am fiercely independent and accepting lifts makes me feel the opposite – and then sat with me, chatting away the wait.
He told me that they (Ulla is his wife) go home to Sweden for three months every year. They leave the Queensland winter and enjoy the Swedish summer. He told me that they visit their continually ageing relatives and friends and their daughter who moved back as soon as she finished her nursing training because she hated the Queensland heat. Clearly a woman of my own heart.
He told me a bittersweet story about his mother. A few years ago they had gone home, as usual, and were driving to his mother’s place when he spotted a strawberry stand. Knowing his mum would love some strawberries he bought a bag full then added some chocolate to go with them. She was also a big liquid chocolate fan.
When they arrived, the three of them sat at the dining table and enjoyed a lovely visit with talk and laughter and, naturally, the strawberries and chocolate. Bjorn remembered it quite fondly.
His mum was 96. Three weeks later she died, without fuss and having had a full and happy life. Best of all, I suppose, her son was with her at the end.
My bus arrived and I left him to go and play golf (he plays off 30 which is pretty good for a man of 70+) while I headed for Little Mountain.
Then, as if some sort of sadness fairy had descended on me, I was sitting with Les and Glennis at morning tea and they both told me how utterly bored they were. I suggested that they could write their life stories. Just a bit each day would keep them busy and interested and bring back little snatches of the past.
Glennis said, “Mine would only fill a single page.” I thought that was incredibly sad.
Not that our day was particularly sad. Tracey took mum and me to Sunland where we had lunch at the Coffee Club following a wander around K-Mart and Coles.
I had a very nice omelette with smoked salmon and very few carbs.
Back at the care home we sat around while the Telstra man did weird things to mum’s phone. Then Mitchie turned up to visit (and wish me a fond farewell) then left shortly before Denise turned up to take me away.
As we left, we walked with Kevin and his wife. Kevin really doesn’t want to be there. Apart from being shaky on his legs, he feels perfectly alright. His wife explained that he couldn’t get up or down the stairs in their house which he would need to. Rather than sell and move to a bungalow, she felt the best thing was to put him in the care home. He doesn’t agree. She plays bowls.
Anyway, enough sadness for one day, my last. I’ll miss the staff and residents that I’ve met over the last two weeks. I feel like I’ve become a part of their lives in a very transient yet close way. Also the cafe women will now be able to forget my latte order.