I arrived home to find the nurse with my mother, who had decided to get up. After she’d left, I phoned Weeza, but then couldn’t speak. She was anxiously asking me what had happened and I was too choked to say a word. Eventually, I explained and she offered to come up. I politely demurred, she asked if I’d like her to and I said “Yes please”. She was on the next train.
Afterwards, she thanked me for that. “You never ask” she said. I hadn’t realised I took independence to a shutting-out stage and took note for the future (never offer me help unless you mean it darlings, as I now accept all offers going).
The Sage stayed with my mother while I drove to the station and she was drowsy but awake when we returned and she was able to greet and kiss us. Then she went to sleep and didn’t wake again, but died in the early hours of the next morning. It was a lovely and merciful death, so quickly after becoming ill, in her own bed. A shock, as the doctor had told me she would last a week or two, and so I had put my sister off rushing up and she was due the next morning. I had to ring and tell her.
For my part, I’d done my grieving six months before and now I felt that I’d done what I said I would and was glad I’d been able to. The one good thing about Khan’s accident was that he wasn’t there to be upset. I did get a bit OTT over the food for her funeral though, and was found cooking at 5 in the morning, suddenly anxious that there wouldn’t be enough.
A week or so later, I went back to fetch him home. He had a metal plate bolted through his lower leg, as a plaster would be too heavy and he was to be encouraged to walk on the leg (he didn’t though, for weeks). I had to bathe it twice a day – if it had been infected it would have meant amputation.
It didn’t, all went well, and his recovery was steady. It cost a fortune, I forget how much but I think it was in the region of £3,000, plus our own vet’s bills, but we were covered for everything except the first £50. The most worrying thing was when the metal plate was taken off – the bone was still not completely strong, especially where the bolts had been removed, and I was afraid he’d break it again.
Khan lived with us, of course, and he was fine. I’m afraid I made him sleep in the porch, though. His housetraining was still unreliable and his stomach sensitive and it was safer that way.
By this time, the other problems I was involved with (not family ones) were getting sorted out and although my family were still anxious about me (I think I was a bit hyper-everything and had been so long that I thought it was normal). The next January, Weeza took me to India with her to her friend’s wedding (the sister of the girl whose wedding I went to in August). After a hectic and exciting week in Madras, we flew to Kerala (the south-west corner of India, just below Goa) and spent a wonderfully relaxing week. I’d never lounged by a swimming pool on a holiday before! We had a cruise on the beautiful backwaters, rode an elephant and ate, drank and read. My reading went into overdrive that week – one day, I read five books. I ran out of books, though the lovely hotel we stayed in for a few of those days had a plentiful supply, and I went shopping. I bought Lord of the Rings and read it, all three volumes-worth, in two days. That holiday started to heal me. It had been a difficult 15 years.
The next year, I visited India again, this time with my sister, leaving the three dogs with the Sage as usual.