2016 was a difficult year for Himself and I as far as travel opportunities were concerned.
My Mother in law was in failing health, a long drawn out series of dips and rallys that gave us hope one moment then dashed them the next as the next chest infection or illness set her back just a little bit further than where she had rallied to before.
She had been at least mentally active into her 90’s, but the physical excursions were getting slowly harder and harder. It was already testament to her constitution that she was still living alone in her home until she was 93 years of age.
She was lucky to not be suffering with anything like dementia, but like a well travelled vehicle with parts worn out, thinned and rusted from sheer old age, her hearing, eyesight and eventually memory started to falter.
Once remained of things she would quickly remember what she had forgotten, often putting the pieces back in remarkable detail but even in her good moments it became clear that the assistance that family hade been giving around the clock would have to be taken over by professionals.
Himself visited daily, I often did the lunchtime “slot” as we took turns, we both did weekends, but eventually the time that we were skipping at home with our own family and Himself’s work time started to catch up.
Clients, kids and their teachers understand when you need to drop everything for a family emergency, but not if that state of emergancy starts to be come a permanent situation.
Added to that, Himself and his two sisters were starting to suffer from burnout, stretched between home needs and that of their mother.
Just before Easter it became clear that my mother in law would be heading back into hospital again as another crisis hit.
After a while she was well enough to leave hospital but not well enough to come home, so a place was being arranged in a care home that had facilities that was between the two.
Consultation with his two sisters, both of which had arranged holidays in the following school holidays bought about the idea that we also deserved a break from this stressful and emotional situation, and with his mother in the full time care of a hospital environment, and his sisters on visiting duty and standby, we ended up taking advantage of the long weekend holiday that Easter offered to go to the island of Texel with friends.
In order to make the most of the weekend, we are ready and packed on the Thursday afternoon, heading away as soon as Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr are home from school.
We head northwards past Schipol airport, past aircraft taxiing over the air-bridge that goes over the motorway. The journey takes a while due to the usual evening rush-hour traffic but soon we are arriving on the outskirts of Den Helder…
The tiles under the air-bridge look like aircraft when viewed from a distance…
Dredging the cannals…
Outskirts of Den Helder…