(This book cannot be returned.)
It all started when my daughter Kimmy sent me a text message saying: "Grampa (my father) is back in hospital. I don't know how bad it is, I'm trying to find out. It was Helen (Dads wife) who phoned me and of course she's frantic. If I find out more I'll let you know, love Kim".'Hell', I know what this means. For now though I'm going to do my best to resist as I have been there before. But in my heart of hearts I know that I must go back to Australia and do what must be done. I arrived in South Africa only three weeks earlier on a two-month visit to my family and also to house-sit my son's place whilst he and his family were on holiday in Europe. I SMSed Kim back and said that "I'll phone Helen and see how she is." I knew Kim was not going to be happy, as she would have liked me to have said, "OK, I'm on my way to take control", but for now it will have to do. The minute Helen picked up the phone I knew that I could not unduly delay my return but I needed to until Lance and his family returned in another four days' time. As I talk to her, I know of old, the quivering voice and could imagine her hands shaking, claw-like as she works through a panic attack. As a result of her illness she has virtually no body fat, I could see her face with the shrunken-skin stretched drum tight, accentuating the protruding, pointed cheekbones, with her hazel eyes - small coffee beans in their large sockets. I know the despairing stare and the pain that those eyes contain. I could hear the tears in her eyes and I shudder. Her words were incongruous with this memory as she says, "It's okay, ...I can... cope". We both know that she can't. I promised to phone back the next day and monitor her.