(This is a "stroke" post!)
I'm beginning to realise that much of the school year appears to have been in darkness.
It reminds me of the time when I was in labour for my first child; I remember the time - about 24 hours from start to finish - as all taking place in the dark, even though he was born at 3 in the afternoon. That's because I was given sleeping tablets when we went into hospital in the evening, and pain-relief drugs that made me very drowsy throughout the labour, so to me it felt like a long, drawn-out (and painful!) night.
My mother came home in February - a triumph, and a challenge. Life wasn't easier just because she was only half a mile away. As she fought her way through the fog of the effects of the stroke, we too, all struggled to work within the demands placed upon each one of us.
How do you get the shopping done? How do you stay on top of the laundry? How to you keep in control of the mass of paperwork we all have to deal with? What about dentists, and doctors, and hospital appointments? When do you deal with the most basic requirement of household tasks like cleaning the bathroom? What about home maintenance? It took months to sort out light fittings, or even putting up coat hooks, as weeks would go by while we mini-stepped our way towards completing the simplest of jobs within the constraints of available a time and what needed to be done.
And this list of questions isn't just about my parents trying to cope with their lives. The same problems taxed my family, shoe-horning our own shopping, cleaning, gardening (no, scrub that last - it just hasn't happened this year!) work, admin, family time. And my brother's family too; he travelled the six-hour round trip from his home to here time and time again - weekly at first, fortnightly, as often as he could.
Now, in July, in this Summer heatwave, I feel as though it is day again.
At my parents, things have improved in a big way. They have made several trips into town using the local bus - Freedom! They have used the extremely efficient and reasonably priced wheelchair-friendly taxi on many occasions. They are beginning to invite friends round - for my mother's birthday party, for a coffee morning - rebuilding relationships which were abruptly put on hold while everything, and everyone, was so fragile through the long dark times.
And here - well, I have friends that I haven't seen since last Summer. Holidays and half terms are times when I usually try and meet up with old friends, but that just hasn't happened - not at Christmas, not in the February half term, not at Easter, not in the May half term... no time. Too much to do. In prioritising where I needed to be, what needed top be done, this had to come a long way down the list.
So, in the next few weeks I shall try and rebuild these relationships, contact all these people, catch up on their news...
It's half past nine in the morning, and I shall start now.