Darkness and light

by Veronica on June 24, 2014

in Cancer, Grief, Headfuck

Five years ago, we clustered around a bed in a palliative care ward, waiting. Holding hands, talking, but mostly, waiting.

It didn’t take long in retrospect, although the hours felt interminable, waiting for the next breath to come, the death rattle heavy in the room.

Until the next breath didn’t come and it was over. Months of appointments, of waiting, of saying goodbye over and over, culminated in one sharp moment when it stopped.

And then we all breathed again and had to go on without her. She stopped, but we failed to stop with her, and the hole of her leaving grew bigger as we missed her.

The first sign: wild ducks fleeing, circling frantically overhead like a crowd of mismanaged school children, no one sure where to go next. They hide in the trees and fall silent.

Not a bird in the sky, until we look closer, and see them, circling. Hunting maybe, or courting.

Round and round the eagles go, my eyes spotty from looking up at the bright sky, a cup of tea warm and heavy in my hands. The undersides of their wings glint gold in the sunlight, bright enough to make my eyes tear up as I look away.

We watch until they disappear over the horizon.

The crows return first, flying over, cawing their life loudly. Then the sparrows. A rosella. Our neighbours pigeons.

Life goes on, even with the shadow of death hanging over us.

Forty minutes to make three kilos of soap. Twenty minutes standing outside. Ten minutes reading. Today is broken up into blocks of minutes as we count down.

For a moment, everything will stop.

And then I’ll draw breath again and on we’ll go, into our sixth year without her.

Denise Webber June 24, 2014 at 7:01 pm

My Mum has been gone almost 15 years and it still hurts more than I can ever articulate. Every so often I will be hit with an almost overwhelming wave of grief and longing that is just as sharp and vivid as the one that hit me when my father rang me at 2am to the tell me that mum had gone.

I wanted to scream and cry and fall apart but I couldn’t, I had to wake my eldest who had demanded to be told the instant it happened and then I had to comfort her. It hurts me that mum never got know how amazing her granddaughters turned out, what marvellous people they are. And it hurts me that my kids only have hazy memories of the most wonderful and important woman in my entire life.

Blossom June 24, 2014 at 7:34 pm

I know just how you feel,except it was my mum.
Time will pass and it will get easier.
You will never get over it but you will learn to live with it.

Massive hugs

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