Unfortunately my mother-in-law is not improving in the way we all hoped and things are looking pretty grim. We are definitely not giving up on her, but it is all pretty worrying right now. I am discovering that everyone deals with these kind of stresses in different ways. Some bury themselves in work, some squat on the floor with their head in the hands, some talk about it, others prefer not to. Some focus on the person in the hospital bed while others turn it around to focus on themselves. Some spend as many hours as they can at her side talking about any random thing that comes into their head while others prefer to just check in on her and silently stroke her hand for a bit.
Despite the fact that all of these ways are very different, they all seem to work for the different people involved. I tend to be the kind of person who can make it through the day in front of people, but then break a little after dark when I am alone. At the moment I am trying to be strong for my children and my father-in-law in particular. My biggest way of coping at the moment is to spend the last 30 minutes before sundown wandering around the garden picking peas, broad beans, asparagus and strawberries and huge bunches of sweet peas and filling the house with their amazing smell. It is a great way to finish of the not-so-great days that are becoming routine here. I recommend gardening to everyone!