I have just spent a wonderful thirty-six hours with my daughter. It was so good to just have her here again, as it has to be just over a year since we last saw each other. In fact, it was the best visit we have shared in years. Normally when she comes up to Scotland, she stays with her step-brothers and spend the bulk of her time with her friends in the town they all lived, in before her dad took her to New Zealand. Reading that back, it sounds terrible, it’s not meant to, I am in no way what so ever complaining. We don’t have anywhere for her and her husband to stay in our flat, it is just too small. I fully understand that she also wants to spend time with her brothers and to catch up with her school friends. This visit was all for us. I so appreciate the fact that she both took the time, not to mention the money, to actually stay in Glasgow. Instead of being here for about 4 or 5 hours, they arrived here at our home Sunday at 10 am and stayed until just before 8:30 pm, returning again this morning, leaving with just enough time, to reach their flight home this afternoon.
Sunday was a day of laughter, memories and catching up. The two of us always have so many things to say, so much to share. That mother-daughter bond has never changed, it’s so unlike the relationship that I have with my mother. The second we are in the same room, it’s like we have never been apart. I always feel sorry for both Adam and John. They hover around the edges of our conversation, being permitted to add the odd comment or word, then we remember they are there and draw them back in for a while, before once more, slipping away into our own world. As is always the way when I have more than just Adam to talk to, my brain doesn’t really know how to cope, almost every fifth word, was either stuttered, stammered or forgotten before it reached my lips. Yet, they listened and waited for me to get there, unless, I made it clear that I was totally lost and needed rescuing.
It was the day, for chit-chat, the day to tell tales, to embarrass each other and to be a family. It was sheer bliss, even when it was mixed with my attempts to cook meals. Brunch turned out just as I wanted, the deforested smoke salmon, leftover from Christmas surrounded for once, by perfectly scrambled eggs and croissant, oh, and burnt fingers. Which is the standard accompaniment to anything, that has to go anywhere near a stove. Dinner was simpler, and if I’m honest, nearly totally cooked by Adam, and he did it all really well. He managed, this time, to keep my fingers nowhere near the stove. No expensive takeaway, no interruptions with ordering, delivery and all the fuss that normally takes over when they are here. From here on in, on all visits that follow, home cooking, is definitely, the way to go, somehow, it completed the feeling of a true family bond. Good food, good wine, good conversation, what more did we need to bond us all as a family again. It was just as perfect as I hoped, and by the end, I was just as tired as I knew I would be. Sleep was much needed and for that reason, most welcome.
I knew that today would be different, that it was going to be a day of tears and heartfelt discussion. Adam was at work and John, well poor John sat on the small settee alone, playing with his phone. I always new smartphones had a purpose, he played his role of constant silent strength, perfectly. We all knew that I had to broach the subject, that we had to discuss the forms that she is taking to her father, to have Jeffery’s grave deeds, transferred over to me. We also knew, that, they would be the springboard for the much-required conversation about my remaining years and of course, my death.
Although she hadn’t said it, both Adam and I had worked out that her visit had been prompted by everything I had written, about my plans for the future over the last few weeks. We were right. It had dawned on her that time is becoming limited and that what time we can spend together is precious. I did my best to put her mind at rest, that I totally understood that she has a life, a very busy life, and I didn’t want her to miss a second of it. She is right now in the throws of changing jobs and her now role, will be mega busy and so good for her. She’ll be jetting all over the place, and will have so many things, that will keep her away from her husband, that when they can be together, that’s what they must be. We are so alike that not only did I know why she was here, I also knew, that she would totally understand my need to know what my options are and what my future will hold, and how I want it all organised now. Yes, we hugged and yes, we got through a large number of tissues, as we are like any other two humans who love each other deeply. Death is a painful subject, but it isn’t something any of us can hide from, or should hide from. I think we talked through all my decisions, what I need to find out about, and how I want everything written down, before any of it happens. It is so good to know she not only approved of what I am doing but, is also totally behind me and willing to help me in any way that she can. I didn’t have a single doubt it would be any different, but, I so needed to have her sat here, listening, holding me and understanding my words.
Adam’s timing to come home for lunch, couldn’t have been any better. It was just after 12 and I was struggling to change the subject. It wasn’t that I couldn’t have spoken about so much more, but, it felt like this was the right time, to move on. We both need space, a little time to absorb and to accept that our relationship is coming to an end. As I said, I know that I could hit a plateau, that there is a chance we could still be together 5 or 10 years from now, but, I’m not going to be here for long. I am very aware that things right now are moving, that now is the time to organise, as a flare could end this all tomorrow. If we had more time, if she didn’t live in London and me in Glasgow, things might be so different, but life is as it is. In a few days, we can talk again, as in a few days, the strength that we share, will return and our lives will go on. Right now, our emotions are still open and raw. Adam’s arrival brought us back to the now, and within minutes, we had rediscovered our laughter.
Yesterday, even once she was gone, I spent the rest of the day, still shedding the odd tear, and although I couldn’t see her, I kind of knew, she to was racked with emotions, slowly finding herself again, returning to the strong independent woman she’s always been.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 16/02/2014 – Adding the years
All I could feel and hear was my pulse, it was thumping as though I had just run a mile, but I was lying in my bed trying to sleep. My head was on leaning slightly to my right and the entire right-hand side of my head was…..