You've been warned. If it offends you, you'll want to click away now....
OK. They're gone.
My mother swore like a trucker. I'm sorry, but it's true. Never inappropriately, never at anyone, but earthy words came out of her mouth. She taught me all the swears in my vocabulary, except for one. That, I had to learn at school.
The day my mother broke her hip, it wasn't immediately apparent that that's what she had done. Maybe the MS kept her from feeling the pain. Maybe the location of the break, I don't know. I wasn't there.
She and Alan were at home. He heard her fall and went to help. He got her up off the floor and into her recliner.
A few hours later, she needed to go to the bathroom and couldn't stand up. I came home to find them both in the bathroom and knew something was very wrong. My mother was normally such a private person.
We got her onto the toilet and Alan discreetly withdrew. This time, I sat down on the side of the tub.
"I need you to tell me what's going on," I said. "Do you need to go to the hospital?"
Her face puckered with fear and she started to cry. "I don't know." Which was as close to yes I was going to get from her.
"It will be really hard to get you out to the car like this. Can I call an ambulance?"
"I don't know."
Alan and I traded places. He got her dressed in clean clothes and I dialled 911. "Tell them no sirens!" she shouted from the bathroom.
They promised not to cause a scene and we went into the dining room to wait - she wanted to see the ambulance pulling up. Mum sat on her walker and I took a chair.
We both knew it was over.
The ambulance would come and take her away and she would never be able to come here to live again. She could barely walk before this. We were barely managing as it was.
She looked at me, her big blues eyes beseeching me to say something wise and warm and comforting. Something that would help this make sense.
I thought hard. This was all new to me, too.
I took her hands in mine, looked deep into those eyes and said,
Her eyes got a little bigger, I must admit. But then she gave me what my father had called her Mona Lisa smile. She squeezed my hands and nodded.