Warm rain envelops us, masking happy tears. I pull you in close. My hand twines in your hair and my whiskers tickle your cheek. I’ve missed you.
My Mother Makes Me Proud
In the early hours of this morning a friend of my mum’s died after a short-lived battle with cancer. It was only two monts ago that he was diagnosed, collapsing at a friends home. He was riddled with it, lungs, brain, liver, ect. The doctors gave him a tentative year, maybe longer with chemo.
The friend that died was a rough man. He had lived alone most of his life. Working hard in the mining industry with his close mates and a lot of beer. My mother and him dated for a few years, about twenty years ago. He was the first father I remembered. Not meeting my biological dad til years later. All I remember was his overly-loud motor bike and eating snake for dinner once.
When mum heard the news of his diagnosis she went to see him. No small feat, as he lives in an isolated community. We had only seen him maybe five times in the past twenty years, but that is who my mum is. When she got there she realised no one was caring for him. His family were far away and already asking after the will. His mates did their best, but they were miners and construction workers. My mum had been an orderly for years and was a trained carer.
My mum cared for him throughout his first weeks in the city hospital while his various cancers were found. He wanted to go home and quietly die but his employer had already taken his supplied home. My mum had made the trip back to tidy up for no other reason than give hime a little pride (he had lived a very rough bachelor life for many years). They found the closest hospital to his hometown that would administer chemo and he was told he would be put in a care facility.
It would have been hell for him. My mother again put herself out there. She offered to move out there with him and care for him as he deteriated. In two weeks she was gone. I moved into her home and took over the lease so she would not lose the place. It was the least I could do.
For the past two month my mum has organised a home for them, been entertaining guests paying their final respects, organising lawyers, doctors, nurses and disability services. She has been sleeping on the floor in his room because it brought him comfort to know she was there (he has been able to speak the past few weeks). She has barely slept due to hin coughing all night and waking up frequently.
She has done this all off her own back with only her own government disability allowance (she has been very sick herself) as his superannuation still has not come through and he drank away any savings he had. It has been an enourmasly tough time with no sleep, busy days, emotional visits everyday and little money for food. She literally had his life put in her hands, the nurses telling her how much painkiller to administer to truly take away his constant pain.
At 2.45 this morning my mum’s friend died holding her hand. He was not quite 50. I am proud of you mum.
I lay spread out under the covers. My body heat cooks me until I slide a foot out into the open air. I twist and tangle myself, throwing my leg over to completely remove the blanket; trapping it between my legs. I bunch the bulky quilt next to me, embracing it more for comfort than warmth.
I close my eyes; remembering a time from years ago when this feeling was a hundred fold, protectively encasing my old lover. The care and affection I gave, the appreciation and wonder I felt from this person next to me. I recall the damp smell of their hair from the shower, the light shining off the curve of their bare shoulder from a light outside our window and the emptiness I felt when those things went away.
My mind races to the next thought, refusing to delve deeper into that personal abyss. The person who occupies my daydreams of the future; I picture their sleepy smile and imagine it is waiting for me when I awake; I gently stroke my own arm, willing myself to believe it is them showing me the affection.
The affection my cynicism denies me. I know that will never happen and yet I hope. Conflicting emotions tear at me. My heart, which was beating so fast from fantastic fancies, halts so abruptly a pain erupts in my chest. I twist and twitch, turning away from my fantasy and my comfort. I wrap my arms around my pillow, too small to invoke the imagination. I squeeze it hoping to hold back what I know approaches.
Tears trickle, seeping into stains left many times before. My sorrow rolls across my cheek and drips from my nose. Silent sobs escape me intermittently, choked down by a warped sense of pride. I am glad to cry again; all too often this pain stays and needles me for days to come.
I let out a sigh as the dripping halts, shivering slightly having lost my comfort. I pull my blanket over me, hiding my fragile self from the world. Warmth engulfs me and I embrace it, escaping into the safety of unconsciousness.
At least if I am lucky.
My mind is the worst kind of romance novel.
It always starts with tragedy.