Looking back–and forwards. Well, it is New Year.

A New BeginningWhat kind of year was 2013?

It was a year that started well, with a relaxing weekend in London, taking in Cirque du Soleil and the Twelfth Night celebrations on Bankside, before delivering a winter that was rather too long for my taste.

It was the year when I completed the final module of my MEd with the Open University.

It was also the year when Supermum suffered stroke number three together with an infection that seemed resistant to all attempts to treat it. After a week when she had slipped from partially conscious to fully unconscious, we were told that her chances of survival were poor. In the face of this bad news, I remembered my Nan’s advice: put on a smile and keep busy. We visited Supermum regularly and talked to her as if she could hear us, then once visiting time was over I got stuck into reading, marking, school work and that all important final assignment for my MEd.

It was the year when against all the odds, just as she seemed to be slipping away from us, Supermum woke up and announced that she was hungry. Whilst she is still with us, she has lost so much that matters to her: her independence, many of her memories, her ability to keep the memories that she still has in any kind of order. For many weeks she clearly had no idea who I was. She liked us to visit though, so Mr TLC and I turned up and chatted cheerily to the confused lady whose mind wandered off to places where we couldn’t follow. She looked so familiar, yet she seemed like a stranger to us.

It was a year when I decided to follow Jay Lake’s excellent advice: be kind, and don’t miss your opportunities. Despite a nagging sense of guilt that I was planning to do fun stuff whilst my Mum was still in the hospital, Mr TLC and I stopped saying “one day…” and actually went out and did stuff during the summer break. Nothing of any great significance, just trips to the seaside, a visit to the Lake District, walks in the Peak District, visiting interesting places, that kind of thing. Most importantly, we caught up with our some of our neglected family and friends and reminded them who we were.

It was a year when some visitors turned up in the first week of the new school year and said “Could do better.” Like Arnie, they’ll be back.

It was the year when we had to break Supermum’s heart by moving her into a care home. I was lucky, my sister did the all the difficult stuff: finding somewhere, making arrangements, dealing with the seemingly endless administrative and financial complications. Of course, Supermum hates it, which is entirely understandable, but I don’t know how else we can provide the 24 hour care that she needs. I’m not rich enough to give up work and do it myself.  And there is some good news: Supermum is still struggling with her memory, but since moving into the care home she now (usually) knows who we are. I am fantastically grateful for that.

It was the year when I finally passed my MEd – woohoo! I told Supermum, who was very pleased, but clearly had no clue what I was talking about, so I told Mr TLC I’d passed eleventy-nine times to make up for it. Then I told my Dad, who was most delighted indeed.

It was a year of running away to the seaside. I’m not sure why Mr TLC and I spent so much time at the coast, but it was surprisingly good for me. From the majestic bleakness of Maryport’s deserted beach, to Scarborough’s picture postcard resort, to Cherbourg and Utah Beach, I found our seaside sojourns incredibly calming.

And it has been a year of digital absence. Analogue events took precedence. That’s life.

What kind of year was 2013? For me it was a roller-coaster year, which makes it just like any other year – although this year’s roller coaster was a lot scarier than I would have liked.

What am I hoping for in 2014? Frankly I have no idea. It’s the wrong time of year for resolutions (I make mine at the start of the academic year), but we’ve been making a few plans and have some interesting things lined up. And (hopefully) 2014 will be a year when I re-engage with some of my digital friends and colleagues.

Bring it on.


Photo: A New Beginning by Éktor on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons Licence.

7 comments to Looking back–and forwards. Well, it is New Year.

  • Z

    You’re absolutely right to make sure you have some fun. I’m so sorry about your mother and you know you’re right there too. Even if you could give up work, you’d be wrong to. Caring after someone full time is absolutely draining and it can devastate a loving relationship. A bit of emotional distance is better, so as long as the care home is a good one, and it evidently is, professional care is what your poor Mum needs. Though it’s so sad to have to acknowledge it. Congratulations on your MEd, that’s a fantastic achievement with all the rest that has happened.

    Oh, and btw, sisters are pretty damn good too, aren’t they? I appreciate mine more and more and I’m sure the feeling is mutual.

  • Happy New Year.

    You’ve had a lot happening and, as you say, the analogue should take precedence. I tend to think of this digital stuff as a kind of counterbalance.

    Have a great 2014.

  • Lois Lindemann

    Thanks Z, thanks Rashbre.

    Best wishes for the New Year to both of you 🙂

  • So sorry to read about your Mum.

    Congratulations on achieving the MEd. IMHO OU qualifications are the most rigorous ones, these days. Well one for managing to complete, with everything else that was going on.

    Hope 2014 will be a less up and down for you.

  • Here’s the mssing ‘d’ (dodgy keyboard!).

  • Lois Lindemann

    Thank you BW – both for the kind words and for making me laugh as comments with missing letters popped up. Perhaps I should start an I Made TLC Laugh award? 🙂