My mother-in-law is dying. The doctors say she has at the most 3 or 4 days. How do doctors know such things with any degree of certainty? It seems like an awful kind of power.
She is 80 and is in a nursing home where she has lived for the past three years. She hasn’t been able to walk for ten years after suffering three strokes.
My husband is flying to New Zealand tomorrow to see her. For one last time. I cannot get past the incredible sorrow contained in that phrase. For one last time. Imagine if the next time you saw someone was the last and you knew it. How could you bear it?
My mother-in-law is a stoic in the true sense of the word. She has put up with her abusive husband for fifty years. He claims to be overwhelmingly grief-stricken, devastated beyond belief; drowning his sorrows in cheap port and even cheaper dry sherry.
I am shocked when I shouldn’t be at the way he has turned this whole thing round to be all about him. I know what he’s like. If he was a celebrity he wouldn’t be able to resist a photo opportunity. He wants my husband to go to grief counselling with him so he can cope with being alone.
You aren’t fooling any of us, Daddy dearest. We all remember you putting her in the hospital, spending all of her wages at the pub, pushing her down a flight of stairs. You aren’t fooling any of us with the I-can’t-bear-the-grief-act.
I may be damned for eternity by what I am about to say but he should have gone first. In a vat of acid. How can he walk around all hale and hearty after what he did to her year after year after year?
His old tricks are still effective. Here he is making me think about him and his shortcomings instead of thinking about her.
Here’s to you Joy Mary. You made the best trifle in the North Island. You loved the bingo and the wrestling and supported your rugby union team, the Canterbury Crusaders for your entire life. You cried when you saw your grandson because he looked so like your son. You swore like a trooper and did the most elegant embroidery. You had eight children who loved you and were proud to call you Mum.
I won’t ever forget your dignity and grace.