My husband is not someone who wears his heart on his sleeve. He has been known to physically distance himself from emotional, overwrought scenes. So I was really impressed at the way he handled his trip back to New Zealand to see his dying mother.
It is true that she is not well, in fact, she is gravely ill, but she was not in the condition we expected to find her in. My father-in-law had painted an emotionally devastating picture of her health – that she was veering in and out of consciousness, barely knew anyone, didn’t know what day it was and so on.
He even told my husband that she was waiting to see her son again so that she could die. I am still trying to find the right way to digest that one.
The truth is that she is ill, is in a lot of pain, is terribly frail and in a wheelchair, but she still knows exactly what is going on. She is eating, chatting and laughing. My husband and his brother took her out for lunch. She didn’t eat much but managed a modest portion. She was cracking jokes the whole time.
It hurt me that there is a man, the father of those boys who are now men in their own right, who is prepared to stab and pick at and twist the knife a little further into an already painful situation. By exaggerating, overdramatising and yes, lying. It’s so unnecessary, isn’t it?
Everyone is aware how serious her condition is. There is no need to outline every nuance, every moment in austere black.
It was freezing in New Zealand over the weekend. A good five to ten degrees cooler than Sydney. It really felt like winter. My husband said there were shadows everywhere but especially around his mother; that the light in her eyes was dimming as if slowly, ever so slowly, she was fading into the back ground.
Yet she still had her laugh. Her cheeky, infectious, irreverent laugh. It was a laugh that always did throw light into even the darkest room. In my heart I believe it was a laugh with a direct line to her soul, bringing a litle spring into winter.