We are entering a new era of soft, hushed voices, of lowered eyes that do not dare to connect for fear of letting go.
We five children race down the hospital corridor, wheeling left like a flock of seagulls, a family in full flight, all sisters and nieces and toddlers, turning left, walking briskly along the silent tunnel of green paint, until we reach the end, and begin to slow our pace; finally, slowly, softly tip toeing on shushed feet to peer between the open door. Is she asleep? Her mouth is open. Is that normal? She’ll be thirsty when she wakes. We chat to ourselves and make notes of her needs. Of our needs. We need to be hugged and loved and reassured our mother is ok. Of course she isn’t. She’ll never be ok again.
We are entering an en era where feet tred slowly, time slows, clocks become only relevant when it comes to pain relief and tablets. A time when each painful raised heel and foot attempts to shuffle forward; a time that will witness sadder conversations, flurries of tears and tissues followed by hard nose blowing and “Yes Mum, I’m fine, darling”.
We begin to lie to each other.
To try in our own silly human way to slow the inevitable: the death of a parent; our mother, the last woman standing.
Dad’s spirit smiles in the shadows, waiting for her to join him. Not long now Dad, not long now love.
Slabs of daylight shaft the room, fingers of time probing our life, falling at our feet in a pool of sunshine.
Outside a formation of Ibis fly silently overhead. Timid clouds sneak peeks over the shoulders of Mt Archer. We press the buzzer, we squeeze it, we stab it again with our shaking fingers. Quietly a bell rings in the Nurse’s Station, and a wearied figure of efficiency paces down the hallway, to be greeted by our sea of anxious faces.
To be continued...