Ever wondered what happened to the characters from the Fast Show’s Jazz Club sketch?
Nor me to be honest, but they made something of a reappearance over dinner when my husband Roger started doodling on a rabbit mask that was lying around on the table. These things do lie around on the table in our house as Sam is always making things and the kitchen is his workshop. He’d opened a packet of make your own masks before tea and they were still there, ready and waiting to be customised.
In a few seconds, Rog scribbled a pork pie hat on the mask, put it on and stuck his glasses over the top. Inspired by the John Coltrane CD that was playing, he started doing Jazz Club voices.
Now he does confess this could have gone two ways. Sam was either going to pick it up and run with it – or throw a tantrum for spoiling his mask. In fact, both Sam and Florence joined in and loved playing with their dad, taking their time to make a mask each and Sam even threw in a bit of air saxophone and impressed us with knowing which part was the sax solo.
So as you can see, things are just the same as they ever were round here. Well in some ways they are the same, as Roger’s condition seems to be pretty stable and there have been no major incidents, but in other ways they’ve changed quite considerably.
Rog has come home from the hospice – where he has been an in patient since April – and we are trying to make the most of our time together as a family of four.
He’s been having visits home for a month or so now, and as things are going relatively smoothly (can you see I’m touching wood while I type?), it was decided that the best thing was to discharge him save for weekly checks and regular visits from the Macmillan and district nurses.
As long as we can manage he will be here, taking it easy with me and the kids.
It’s a huge step considering a few months ago we never really knew if he would make it home at all, but it feels like the right one. I’m trying to keep my anxiety at bay by telling myself help is only a phone call away if we need it.
At the moment, he’s able to get around the house himself, go upstairs to bed and get down again in the morning. He’s tired and is in increasing pain. We’re going into the unknown, and if we stop to think about it for more than a moment it feels like it’s going to swallow us up.
We have our family back together, but as I wrote the other week, it’s like the best and worst of times all rolled into one.
We watch Wimbledon on TV and talk about the time we went before our first child was born. We listen to music and wonder why we’ll never see a concert together again. We look at old photos, and cry about the gorgeous holidays we had and all the places we would have liked to have visited. We look through recipe books and Roger talks about the food he could have eaten before he felt so ill. We see the children laugh, play and squabble and we both know that so much will be missed when we’re no longer all together.
However much we try to distract ourselves from the inevitable, the big black cloud is still hanging there over our heads. We’re trying to go on as normal, but our energy levels are seriously low and although I am managing to look after everyone, I’m feeling so tired and drained and some days just can’t face even getting out of bed.
The summer holidays are just over a week away and without really being able to make plans I’m wondering how we’ll get through. I know this is a worry for many parents, so I’m trying to let that one slide and pray for warm weather and lots of time playing in the garden so we can stay close to home.
In the meantime, it’s carrying on in as normal a way as we can under the circumstances. And if that means making lots of rabbit masks, then so be it.