clotted cream, sadly, but we just about made do with the piles of
other cakes and biscuits. Gentle music playing, happy conversation,
and children in powered wheelchairs playing croquet on the lawn. Oh,
and the photographer from the Oxford Mail.
Tea at three is one of this year's Helen House fundraisers. Throw a
tea party, invite friends, charge them. Simple enough - everyone gets
cake and a drink, and Helen House get a bit more money towards the
cost of our care.
Hospice care is not funded by the NHS or by Social Services; Nor do
the patients' families pay. Every penny comes from donations. We're
staying here now to give Little Fish a break from being in hospital,
and so that I can recharge my own batteries before jumping back into
our daily life with LFs additional needs. Mog has been here for a
week; this hospice is the only place where I can feel confident enough
to leave her overnight, knowing that the staff recognize and can cope
with all her special needs.
That's this stay. Helen House have taken care of my girls so I can do
things by myself at times. They have taken one child so I can focus on
the other. When Goldie died they took us all for a couple of days, a
pause before taking up the reins again, a chance to breathe with chaos
all around us. And if and when the time comes, I know they will
support us through the death of one of my remaining girls.
Helen House do more than just care. As I left the house this evening
to come over to my flat, I paused to watch a child have a late night
spa. Yesterday one child had a private movie screening whilst another
couple enjoyed their favourite meals. Croquet today; another day
aromatherapy and music therapy fill the corridors with a gently
relaxing multisensory feast.
For myself, this is a chance to enjoy just being Mummy, not having to
be nurse and carer and therapist. Medicines and feeds are brought in
and administered, treatments are carried out, and I can be elsewhere
entirely if I wish, or present but off duty. Tonight Mog is hooked up
to a sleep study; if this had taken place in hospital I would have had
to spend the night by her side. As it is, I have said goodnight to
her, and l have crossed over the road to my flat. I can reach the
girls in seconds if necessary, but I can be confident that they are in
safe hands, cared for and loved whilst I sleep.
One more quiet day tomorrow and then time to step back into reality. I
love this life we have together, but there's no denying it can be
difficult at times. Knowing that we can book ourselves another break
here in a few months' time makes it that much easier to pick up those
extra roles again.