Anthony and I decided to just have one child, Menzies (Ming). I don’t quite remember now why we made this decision but it was probably due to the fact that Anthony was already nearly 60 when we got married. I do remember, however, that this was a mutual decision.
Now that Ming is 21, Anthony is in the nursing home, and I am once again a lady of leisure (ha!) it is with some astonishment that I look at this boy/man. How on earth did Ming survive all of those years of Anthony’s illnesses? How did he manage, as a teenager, to share the ‘night shifts’ with me? How did he put up with my anxious, endless tears? How did he not mind the way I would escape to my office when I came home from my job at the university? How did he cope with the fact that our once boisterous life became so quiet and desolate as Anthony’s Parkinson’s disease encroached? And how did Ming undergo his two spinal surgeries, give up football, his dairy farming job, and motorbike adventures, with so much dignity and acceptance?
I am so proud of him. Ming is the loud, boisterous epitome of how Anthony once was; he is the life of the party, the polite guest, the gentleman; he is never shy but often uncertain. Last night I came home to see him on the front lawn with his arms outstretched. I stopped my car on the driveway and rolled down the window and this was our conversation:
Me: What are you doing?
Ming: Just wanted to greet you with a hug!
Ming: You are the only person I really trust.
Me: I visited the women in the dementia cottage today.
Me: Because I love those women! It doesn’t matter that I’m no longer employed – I can still visit.
Ming: You are the most beautiful woman, Mum, I really mean that.
So proud – our only child.