Mum’s pal is sitting on the sofa, looking brighter than we’ve seen her for weeks and chatting away.
She’s surrounded by parcels that have been carefully wrapped by her daughter and cards that have been painstakingly written in still elegant writing.
No-one mentions that this could be her last Christmas – it’s a simple fact that is there, adding just a little poignancy to these gifts.
She’s puts me to shame, I realise.
There is no skydiving on her bucket list – she’s too busy making sure that her family and friends are okay.
Selfishly, as we chat, I realise that a little part of the sadness I feel has nothing to do with her.
My mum, who drives me mad, is also the first person I turn to for a moan when things aren’t going my way. (Yes, that’s quite often I’ll admit before anyone else says it.)
Seeing her friend so ill is making me aware that my mother is getting older and, I suppose, so am I.
Christmas and New Year, for all the joy they bring are also occasions to pause and think about what’s been and what is yet to come.
It’s just as well there is a cheerful, level-headed elderly fighter who has no time for such nonsense sitting beside me, asking if ‘Strictly’ is on the telly tonight.
There has been talk of her going into Strathcarron and, having been taken there to visit, it’s not something she’s scared of. I believe it was the home baking that swayed her.
I’ve visited Strathcarron a few times and always been hugely impressed with it. Who isn’t? It’s a wonderful facilty we are lucky to have.
That’s why I’ve been concerned to read in the Falkirk Herald’s letters page criticism of its vital fundraising shops.
I don’t blame people for speaking out - if there are grievances they must be aired and they must be addressed. Every penny the hospice receives provides comfort and support to people and their families when they most need it and we simply can’t afford to let this fester. So, lets listen to the complaints, sort them out and move forward. The hospice needs us to work together. My mum’s old pal needs us too.