As soon as I heard the news of my mother's illness, I took the next plane back to Melbourne. I started to regret moving to Sydney - I had been too focused on my career, and I obviously hadn't thought enough about my family. My little sister picked me up at the airport, and drove me back to our old home. I hadn't been back since I'd moved away, and it was comforting to see that nothing had changed.
Dad was waiting in the kitchen. He was busy cooking dinner. I peered over his shoulder to see what he was making. It was coq au vin - my favourite.
I wasn't sure whether or not I really wanted to see Mum. The thought of how I had abandoned her made my eyes well up with tears. But I made my way upstairs and into my parents' bedroom. As I opened the door she sat up.
"Phoebe - I didn't know you were going to visit!" Her eyes lit up, and she gestured for me to sit down on the end of the bed.
"How've you been, Mum?"
"Could be better - but at least I have some time to knit."
I laughed as she held up a half-finished jumper. Mum had always had a knack of finding a positive in every situation.
We spoke for awhile. I told her about my job, and my new partner. She seemed a little disappointed that I had never brought him down to meet her, but she didn't say anything. Instead, she changed the topic, and began to tell me all about the azaleas she had planted in the garden, and how they were really beginning to bloom. It was great talking to Mum - something I'd really missed in Sydney.
After a bit, Dad poked his head around the door - dinner time.
"Come on Pheebs, time for dinner. And I think your mother's a little tired."
Mum nodded, and laid herself back...