I received a call last Thursday morning from my Brother Fred saying our Mum needed to be in hospital immediately. That her ‘ole ticker was moving at a pace that even the most ardent gamblers would argue was too risky for their wallets.
Fred said please come. I did. And she was admitted via a referral to what is called a progressive care unit under the watch of a cardiology specialist.
That is where I’ve been since. And I am unsure when I won’t be there. We all have our fingers crossed that it will not go past ten days.
Yesterday, Day 3, with a half started ‘level hard’ Sudoku on my lap, I watched my Mum resting. It was her first real sleep since being wheeled into room 1416-A.
Concentrating on the rise and fall of her chest, I thought about where I was exactly two years ago to the date. In another hospital. In another room. This time in what they called a palliative care center … with my Dad.
There, alone with my darling Papa, he taught me one last lesson. Another way to wake from a deep sleep: You do it, he showed me, by exhaling your last breath out into a mist so your essence can drift away from the space it occupied and move out into the Universe.
That morning my Father went off to find his best mate and my godfather, Bill Walsh, so they could once again talk about Ireland and the Red Sox whilst enjoying not a few rauk tumblers of Jameson with Jesus.
The soul takes flight to the world that is invisible … Plato, I think.
That was January 12th 2018. At 4:19 am. It was raining. I remember walking into my parents house and telling my Mum I was so sorry, then falling into her hug as the tears washed over my face.
But yesterday was not like 2 years ago.
Throughout the entire day I wondered what otherworldly power was going to negotiate this twisted level of symmetry between my parents. I kept thinking, please not this way.
As. You. Wish.
On January 12th 2020 I left the PCU at 7:15 pm with my Mum sitting up in her hospital guest chair, having just combed through her bed head hair, telling me to go back to her house and get something to eat.
And as I walked down the long corridor to the automatic doors leading me to where I last saw my car 9 hours prior … the realization of how this January 12th was different from that other January 12th overwhelmed me from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. So much so, I had to pause for a moment in that empty hallway to rest my face in my opened palms and collect the water cascading from my eyes.
When I arrived at my parents’ house, Fred and I hugged for a good 45 seconds.
We miss you Dad.
Thank you World.