I woke up last night in fear of death. That death would take this man from me.
I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t get peace.
A voice said to me, “ You will not lose him, for he is not lost. He is going home.” and so I cried.
I understood what it meant but when I think of my childhood, his home was my home. We went everyday after school and played at their place, on the roads and in the vacant block next door. We had a street gang, we rode our bikes, started a babysitting club and played road cricket. I remember him dancing and being so loud and betting on the horses. I remember him winning at cards at Christmas. I remember feeling special as he twirled me around, knowing that I was his granddaughter and he was proud of me.
Just recently he told me about his time fighting a war in Korea. How he hates war. How he spent three months in Japan because he was taken as a soldier but was too young too fight. How it was the best time of his life.
I didn’t receive a phone call last night. I got up after a couple of hours of sleep and walked on the beach with my best friend. I waited for the call but it didn’t come.
I went to see him as soon as I dropped the kids at school. He was small and shrunken and unhappy. He was awake and not in pain but weak and sick and tired of it all. I held back tears as I held his hand. I didn’t ask him the questions that I had thought I needed to ask him. The questions that kept me up during the night.
Like – What is the meaning of life? and Do you think Australia was a good decision? How do you think your life would have played out if you stayed in Scotland? Did you get enough joy from your life? Did you get enough love? Did we show you how much you mean to us? Did you feel valued?
Instead, what I did was I held onto him.
And he held on to me.
When I left, I said, “See you tomorrow!”, he said, “I’ll be in another place.”
And so I cried.
I hope he meant that he was moving hospital wards, which he was, but I didn’t know. I just felt his emptiness. The life being drained from him.
I went to yoga and when I checked my phone afterwards I feared the worst.
But it was good news. The Doctors have found a bug in his blood and are giving him treatment. The chemo is working and is shrinking his tumour. He lives to fight another day.
My husband took this shot tonight and I cried again. With relief. With happiness. With joy.
It’s so often we do things that are meaningless. We tick off our to do lists and clean our houses and get angry about silly things but life shows up when you least expect it, to show you that what you actually need to do is give out more love.
You can even throw the list of questions and things you think you should ask out the window. You will never know all there is to know. But you can feel all there is to feel.
And make sure others know you are there.
You showing up is what matters.
Holding the hand.
For the moment.
For the breath.
Feeling the love.