If I seem a bit distracted at the moment or don't reply to things I normally would, this is why:
We learned last week that my mother has a pancreatic tumour, suspected to be malignant, that is also pressing on her gallbladder and colon and causing a variety of problems as a result. She is having a fairly major operation today to try to remove it, following which the lab will confirm whether it really is malignant or not. Even if it is, the doctors are hopeful that she may have caught it early enough not to need chemo, and she really could not be in better hands than in the German health system, but this is obviously a scary time for her and for the family. She will be in hospital for 2-3 weeks and then in a rehab clinic for an undetermined period. She has asked that, rather than visiting now when all I can do is sit by her bedside, I go to stay with her for a while when she comes out of rehab and will need support with shopping, cleaning etc while she finishes convalescing. So I will be doing that. But meanwhile, this is taking up pretty much all my emotional processing spoons. I still want to be supportive of my friends who are also going through hard stuff at the moment, but getting the words out is much more difficult and takes longer than usual - so if I don't reply to things, please know that it's not because I don't care.