Shoosh, you'll wake up the girls!
Dean's mother is still with us.
She's on a respirator and unable to eat or drink, but can talk in a very quiet and croaky voice. This voice has been used to inform her son that she's sick of nervous relatives hovering around her hospital bed, waiting, looking and not knowing what to say. As such, she sensibly declared yesterday a 'No Visitor Day' in part-honour of having some privacy, peace and quiet and partly because she managed to survive the weekend.
Not that we knew that on Saturday night. On that day, Dean had sat with his mother, yearning to tell her all the things that he'd not been able or willing to understand about her before. Some of the traumatic events she'd suffered and struggled through and the decisions she'd made afterwards. The puzzling behaviour then that seemed to make sense now; the ache of regret and apology that grips the heart and rearranges the memories in an entirely new light when it seems like it's all too late.
Ironically, young Sapphire had her friend Sidonie over for a sleepover, yet those two excitable chatterboxes were flat out and snoring by 10:30pm when it came time to kiss and tuck them in, lock the back door and let Milly out for one last sniff and whizz before turning the lights out. Instead, it was Dean and I lying there wide awake, talking softly, tossing and turning intermittently only to sense that the other was awake and continue talking until the first rays of dawn pushed through the gaps in the blinds and the two girls woke up ready for breakfast.
We talked of so many things. The topics were wide-ranging, including our musings on the meaning of life, what constitutes living well, the senseless suffering of the terminally ill; the lingering and cruel death of my grandfather, the staggering wisdom and incandescence within our own child, random things that made us giggle too loudly ("Shoosh! The kids will wake up") and how neither of us wanted to be the one left behind in old age.
I told him that his mother was proud of him and had only really stood back because of the sheer burden she already had to deal with: she knew that her third son was going to be OK. I told him that she could see what a wonderful husband and father he was and that he'd worked hard to develop more skills and interests beyond that of a smart bloke based in the suburbs. He was kind, strong, smart, funny and genuine: any disagreements or judgments he'd made as a boy or teenager or young man would have been understood by her that day as she lay in her hospital bed listening to him soothing her by describing Sapphire's antics and interests gently stroking her hands as he did so.
What I didn't tell him was that there was no other place on this earth that I would rather have been than lying there beside him, witnessing his pain and confusion and wiping his tears whilst only being able to listen and to hold. To be able to do even just that for the man who has seen me through a brain tumour, a twenty nine hour birth, a complete physical and mental breakdown and hundreds of agonising migraines (voluntarily emptying out my sick buckets!) was a privilege. And an honour.
I love you Dean.