October was just merging with November; and you could be convinced it was still the end of summer or at least autumn. There had been plenty of deep yellow sunlight, and although the air was cold it had no damp in it. Washing flapped dry on the line. As Ann Henry turned off the main road and drove up the long gravelled avenue, she felt a sense of sadness for her four children.
Their lives had been a struggle for the past two years having to cope with her bad moods and sickness while she was receiving treatment. Her husband, Michael, had stood by her and was of great support to her during her bad days. She thought back to when she married Michael twenty-four years ago in the little church in Lakelands and after a short honeymoon she settled into farming life. It took her quite a long while to fall in with the farming community not having come from that background herself, but she eventually did and began to help in the daily activities of farming life.
Ann was born into a business lifestyle as her father owned the supermarket in the village and each evening after school she would spend her time in the shop, later taking over a managerial role up to her marriage. After that, she moved to the country. On occasions during busy periods she would lend her parents a hand, and subsequently when her children were born, life was hectic leaving it impossible for her to work outside the home.
Joseph was born ten months after their marriage, their two daughters came along quickly after that and Jim was their last baby. When he turned fourteen years of age, Ann was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer sending their lives into turmoil and forcing Jim to help on the farm on a more regular basis. Ann wasn’t happy with the arrangement because, above all else, she knew their children must be educated. It was the key to their future. Today, life was looking brighter, it was her last treatment and the Doctors were hopeful for a full recovery. She thought about her eldest child, who was doing well in London. He set himself up in the carpentry business and was happily married for the past year. Walking in the front door and straight to the kitchen her daughters surprised her. They had a fire lit and the table set for dinner and both ran and hugged her and asked, “How did the hospital visit go to day?” She answered, “It was a little different today realising it was my last day of treatment. You are home early from college Celia.” “I missed two lectures, I wanted to be here when you returned and I also wanted to see Yvonne before she went back to Dublin. She promised to let me see her in her nurse’s uniform.”