On Sunday the 30 April, a day before Mum’s official birthday, May 1st, Jen and her family, Kath and I went into Northbridge for Yum Cha, something we all love and try to do when we are all together. Monday Kate flew back to Melbourne, Tuesday Matt to Broome, Wed night Kath flew out to Venice for a friend’s art entry at the Biennale de Benezia Art Exhibition and early Thursday Jen flew back to Broome for a friend’s funeral.
Before my sisters left I was hoping we could have some time together just the three of us. They had both been very busy preparing for Mum’s birthday, personal activities and business that there had been little to no time for anything else. Mind you I had expected to be invited to go to the beach with them or be invited to join them during their day but it just didn’t happen. Then after dropping Kate at the airport on Monday they called to invite me to lunch. I’d already eaten but was delighted to spend some time with them. Sometime we expect far too much from family and this was one of those expectations. I knew we had all been under pressure but didn’t expect things to evolve as they did. After seating both girls decided to tell me what they thought about how I was looking after Mum. They said it was because they were concerned for me but it certainly didn’t come across that way to me. I felt terrible. They had both been very supportive and understanding in the past but now were venting their disapproval. Eventually Kath backed off and after another tirade of hurtful comments I left. Being sleep deprived didn’t help. I felt so misunderstood and hurt it was difficult for me to do anything but stay away and pray it through. I realise now that I had expected too much from them. It took me a few days to recover. After much soul searching, forgiveness and prayer I felt I could face them again. It was difficult but with the Lord’s strength I have been able to move on. These things come to test our hearts and our motives.
During Kath’s stay she went through some of her possessions which have been stored at Mum’s since she moved out of Gracetown. She was surprised to find hidden amongst things in the garage Mum’s lost car keys! Praise the Lord they were found at last. When everyone had flown out I took all the spare keys and hid them in the spare room taking the primary set of keys for myself. Fortunately by this time Mum had given up asking for them.
Once everyone had departed things began to settle back to normal. We had been having spectacular autumn days and although the seas were quite choppy I couldn’t keep out of the water and swam on several occasions.
Eleanor from Friday activities at church had been invited to Mum’s party but had been unable to come so had asked if we could come to her house for an afternoon tea party on Sunday 7th of May. Mum was very spoilt by Eleanor who had decorated the house, cooked a lovely cake and gave Mum some cut flowers as well as afternoon tea! Mum felt very special.
On the lead up to Mum’s driving assessment she frequently asked if she could do some driving practice but without her licence or a learner’s permit this wasn’t possible. On Monday a week after turning 90 I took Mum to her assessment. This test is carried out by the Independent Living Centre. There are a series of tests to asses, among other things memory, cognitive and speed of response. Then a practical driving test where she is taken out on the roads. On her return I accompanied Mum into the interview where she was given the news that she would no longer be able to drive. It was heart breaking listening to her try to persuade the instructor for a second test. Then on the way home and several times during the afternoon she kept saying it was very unfair as she hadn’t been taken on the road to test her driving. She had completely forgotten this part of the test. Praise the Lord she actually remembered that she is no longer able to drive.
Very late that night my cousin Val flew in from the UK. She was to stay at Mum’s and have the use of car to be able to get around. We had also plan to take her south to Australind for a few days. With instructions on how to let herself in she arrived by taxi at 1 am and shown to her room by Mum and a very excited Suzie. I called over later that morning to discuss plans. Val’s first visit to Australia was to join me in my travels around Oz. I was in Brisbane at the time traveling south back to Perth. That was 40 years a go! She had also visited with her husband and son Nat in 2003 and 2010. Since then her husband had passed away and Nat had visited last year in October.
Plans were made around Val’s work friend flying in on Wednesday evening. She wanted to catch up with them before we headed south so I dropped her in town at the backpackers where they were staying. We arrived just as they did which was perfect timing. Once they were booked in and belongings safely stored I took them into the city where it was easy for Val to catch the train back to Mum’s.
Early Thursday morning after packing my things into the car I called Val to see if they were ready. She told me Mum had decided not to come. Oh dear not again! I rang Lyn were we were staying, giving her the update then rang Nezka to see if she could help out with Mum’s medication. I didn’t even try to persuade Mum this time. I was tired of fighting, so we left her behind. By the time we had reached Rockingham, about half way down, Mum rang to ask what we were doing that day. She sounded a little disappointed that she had been left behind and seemed not to remember her request to stay. Too late now!
Val and I had a lovely time staying with Lyn and dining at Neesha and Danny’s in the evenings. On arriving Lyn was very excited about a property up for sale between her and Neesha’s place. We walked over and took a look around before calling the real estate agent who was only able to come later in the day. This gave us time to drive out to Gnome Ville where people from all over Australia and in fact the world had placed their gnomes. It was quite a sight!
On arriving back in Australind we were taken around the three bedroom home by the real estate agent. It was a great investment property with a huge mansion going up next door. The asking price was basically the cost of the land and although the house was rather old, with a bit of paint it would have been ready to rent out. If I had known someone who might want to go halves with me in the purchase I would have seriously considered buying it. But with no income at the moment it was beyond my means. What a shame!
That first evening Val and I decided to take the three dogs for a walk. We were given three different directions but chose what we thought was the easiest. Up to the top of the road, right till we hit the river then keep going south till we hit the road along the estuary then follow this north till we came back to the road where they lived. I’d forgotten the part about follow the river so we instead followed the fence. Unfortunately one of the dogs got under the fence and although there were ways back under it, this silly dog didn’t find them and ended up trapped at a dead end. We backtracked in the dark till he found his way under the fence and continued on our original track back to where we started. It was now about 7 pm and very dark.
Neesha put on an amazing pork roast for dinner after which we walked back to Lyn’s, literally two minutes walk to the end of the street. That night I had suddenly remembered Mum would need picking up for her Friday crafts. After a bit of organizing all was in place.
The next day it was a little hard getting out of bed as it was at least two degrees colder than Perth! I called Mum at 9:30 am to let her know she was going to be picked up at 10 am. She sounded really happy to be making birthday cards for family whose birthdays were coming up.
Lyn had planned to take a present to her granddaughter in Margret River and on route take us around some of the wineries and sights of the south west. We had an amazing day stopping at two wineries for Val to taste the produces. We also stopped just a little south of Margret River at the Yahava Koffee Works. Here we learnt how the coffee was roasted, we also sampled the coffee made through an air press. This coffee was absolutely delicious! I had three shots including a decaf as by this time it was after 1:30 pm my cut off time. Val very generously bought me a freshly ground bag as a gift. What a treat! We also sampled chocolates and products made from local olive oil.
The next morning Danny and Neesha took us for a drive around Bunbury before stopping off for a coffee and a wander around the Farmers Market tasting all the wares. After our goodbyes and thanks for the wonderful time we headed back to Perth via a quick trip around Fremantle. That evening we picked up Mum for fish and chips and delicious ice-cream made from real fruit and nuts, at Hillarys Marina.
Sunday at church I was met by some of those who had helped Mum on Friday. Mum had been very upset with Rosalie who had picked her up, saying she had been waiting since 8:30 am. She had forgotten I had called her at 9:30 am to prepare her. She was also not happy to be at the Creative Card table and was taken to the painting table where, after a short stay she decided she would rather go home. Poor old thing, she had been so muddled! The following Friday was totally different and although people were telling me to take her back to the paining table she actually said she enjoyed making cards that day. Two weeks previous, Kate, Mum’s granddaughter had sat with her making cards and both had enjoyed themselves so you can never predict what will happen.
Tuesday was Val’s last day. I woke from a terrible sleep with a splitting headache and stayed in bed till midday. Around this time Val walked from Mum’s to collect the car. As I was feeling a little better I thought it would be nice to take a drive around Perth. We picked Mum up and drove south through City Beach, cruising past Trisha’s place and our old home at Kondel Place before driving up Raebold Hill. From here is a wonderful view east towards the city. We then drove to Kings Park where Val and I climbed Jacobs Ladder (101 steps) and took a quick walk through one of the many native gardens before driving past the University of WA. Then following along the river meandering through the suburbs, past my old high school, MLC and on towards Fremantle. Here we stayed north of the Swan River going out to Rous Head before turning back and parking along Port Beach to watch the sunset. Following the coast further we eventually headed inland from Swanbourne to the Hawkers Hut in Wembley for dinner then all the way back to Hillary’s for our favourite ice-cream before calling it a day.
It had been a lovely way to end Val’s visit. Wednesday morning I dropped her off at the International Airport before finding my way to Belmont shopping centre to meet my old friend Yvonne. On route I got myself completely lost! Pulling up at a set of lights to call out of the window to the neighbouring car to ask directions. Before I could get a word out the woman, pointing her finger at me, shouted profanities saying if I didn’t stop she would ram my car! A little shaken and terribly shocked at the outburst I carried on noticing the shops were at the next set of lights. The woman and her family turned into the shops so I decided to go straight on and turn in at the next entrance. I then found a car park then suddenly noticed three cars up from me was the same aggressive woman! I quickly backed out and drove around to another entrance on the far side of the shopping centre. By this time Yvonne had called to say she was on her way. I did a quick shop in Aldi as it was right in front of me then after Yvonne had parked we drove in Mum’s car to MacCafe where, as seniors we were give a free cappuccino. It was lovely to catch up with Yvonne. It was her last day before flying out to Hong Kong and back to South Africa where I had stayed with her at White River. We had lots to catch up on.
Photos: 1. Eucalyptus flowers 2. Eleanor’s afternoon party tea 3. Val, me and Mum 4. Lyn and I amongst the gnomes 5. Walk at Margret River 6. Mum and Val on the Train, Whiteman Park 7. South Perth from Jacobs Ladder, Kings Park 8. Along the Swan River 9. Sunset over the Indian Ocean
Prayer & Praise Points:
Praise the Lord for His abundant blessing. Time with family including my cousin from the UK and friends at home and from abroad.
Please continue to pray for my sister Jenny as she is desperately looking for work back in Eumundi. Please pray for Kath’s safety while abroad and for work on her return this month.
Praise Him for my new business opportunity, Senior’s Benefits and Rewards. Pray for wisdom for all the challenges that go with it, for open doors and the right people and connections to make this new business venture successful.
Praise the Lord for mum’s continual good health. Praise Him for His peace and reassurance as she has been adjusting to not being able to drive.
Please continue to pray that I will know the Lord’s leading, strength and wisdom as I encounter the challenges that lie ahead.
Thank you to all my supportive friends and prayer partners. I really do appreciate you.