It always seemed to happen in the early hours of the morning, waking me, terrified, out of a sound sleep. The thump, the crash, the cries for help.
My mother had MS, undiagnosed for years. She refused to give in to the clumsiness, the loss of balance, the exhaustion.
So early in the morning, when there was no one awake to stop her, she would attempt the impossible, climbing on a rickety kitchen chair to get something out of a high cupboard, climbing ladders to clean windows.
Sometimes, the fall would be from ground level, walking through a doorway, losing her balance and gashing her head. My sister took that call.
I took the one where she was cleaning the glass panel from the kitchen ceiling light fixture and it slipped from her grasp.
And the one when I was five and she took it into her head to sledgehammer the wall of the basement stairs (MS doesn't contribute to clear thinking).
Not always an injury, sometimes just a lot of noise, and swearing and me standing there, helpless, with my heart hammering away in my chest. Sometimes picking her up from the floor, hunting for band-aids, getting her into bed.
If my father was there, listening to him swear in fear and frustration.
While we were in Paris, Alan's Dad fell on the escalator coming up from the Metro. It was horrifying: total strangers screamed.
He's fine, nothing was broken and he says he's feeling better every day.
But it brought back so many memories.
And that's why I haven't been writing as much as I should lately.