the post where I wrote about my first reading of Antonia Forest's Run Away Home. I had completely forgotten that I'd written that post on 26th March last year, and seeing that date sent a peculiar shiver down my spine.
Why? Because that was the last day Before; the last day when life was normal. Run Away Home was the last book I read before the day my father had a massive stroke, and all our lives turned upside down. On March 27th, 2015, my father almost died. He was in hospital for a month, and went from there straight into an aged care home. My mother moved in with us. Dad has not been back to his own home since the day he left in an ambulance. These days he gets around in a wheelchair, or, tremblingly, shuffling, with a cane. He can't use his right hand or arm at all. And since that day, he cannot speak.
Our lives have changed so utterly that it's weird to look back and realise that it's only been a year and a half. We're working toward getting Dad to move in with us, too, into the granny flat that we've built for Mum. We think we'll be able to manage it (unhelpful bureaucracy notwithstanding!). And that will be another massive change.
It's odd to reflect that this is one of the recurring themes that Antonia Forest's novels explore: how swiftly life can alter, from one moment to the next; how freely we toss around terms like 'tomorrow' and 'the rest of our lives', without thinking how conditional our futures are, how lucky we are when we do manage to string together our tomorrows.