The coach journey was better than I had anticipated and the three hour wait for a connection did not seem too long as Harry and I found a cheap cafe where we had a meal. The time went fairly quickly.
It was a shock to see the change in my son in law, not only in appearance, because he has no hair and has a scar at the back of his head, but because of his changed personality. The first day that we went there, he was aggressive and everywhere we went, he said that he needed us to be out because he wanted to be there. He barred us from the spare room and we had no luck finding anywhere to stay as it is a very small country town. In fact, a village compared to our city! There was nothing for it but to bed down on the floor. Luckily he had decided to go to bed early.
My daughter was very embarrassed by his behaviour to us, but we were not ruffled as I know that the "real" him was not like that.
The next morning, there was a phone call from the local hospice to ask my daughter to get him over there within the hour as they wanted to assess him. That seemed like a gift from God and Deb struggled to get her husband ready and that was a very difficult task indeed. He made every excuse to delay things. I telephoned the Hospice and told them that they were on their way and definitely wanted that place. (A complete lie as they were nowhere near ready!) The boys and Deb were already booked in for councelling that afternoon so we packed them all some sandwiches and they piled in the car and drove off.
Harry started working on the garden as it is huge and many shrubs needed cutting back. I started to work on clearing up a bit and ironing. After we made some lunch for ourselves we got a bus from the local stop and used our wonderful free bus passes that we can now use anywhere in England and we went to the larger town a few miles away. It was good looking all around and familiarizing ourselves with that lovely town.
Eventually Deb rang us and we met up. She told me she would love to go to see Mama Mia at the one and only cinema, so I went with her while Harry took the boys to Burger King for a pile of rubbish! He then went to the park with the boys and had to fill in two hours till we came out!
It was lovely to lose ourselves in the film, which we thought was very good.
The whole atmosphere had changed back at their house and the boys made a lot of noise and we all laughed and generally had a good family time.
After more gardening the next day and a few simple repairs and several visits to the local tip to get rid of rubbish that had been lying about in the garden for ages, we decided to go to the Hospice to see son in law and we all felt nervous, suddenly. To be truthful, we are all afraid of him, or rather his moods.
We were pleasantly surprised when we got there as he seemed much more his old self and was pleased to see us. We walked to the day room and attempted a jigsaw puzzle between us. This was enjoyed by all but the oldest grand child who was playing on his game boy, but it didn't matter. The time went quickly and I now have a vision of him in a happier frame of mind and much calmer. Just like he used to be when the boys were little.
I don't know how long he will be in the Hospice but it gave Deb a wonderful break and a chance to be with us and to act more normally with the boys. I think she is entitled to three days with him at the Hospice every six weeks. It is all voluntary and they are wonderful staff and there is a calm atmosphere there. I must do something for hospices as they provide such a good service for weary families like mine.
Anyway, we are back home now. I feel a little bit tearful but I now feel confident to make that journey on my own even, if needs be. I learnt a lot over my stay there and it has helped Deb to feel less trapped knowing we will be able to go again in the next school holiday, as he is not well enough to leave and she used to come to see us regularly.
Thanks every one for your support. It means so much to me to know I have friends on the net routing for me! Please help hospices if you can as no one knows just how important they are to families like mine, unless you ever find yourselves in this situation and I sincerely hope you don't. Sorry no photo this time!