Some days are like that.
A call on the telephone, a shift in the universe, a sliver – a tiny sliver of the world’s axis revolving a few degrees further than that of those around you.
My dad has Alzheimer’s. Self inflicted, alcohol induced Alzheimer’s. No sympathy here.
Yet, the expected, the known, the always-anticipated-but-just-the-same-goose-bump-inducing news still tilted the world off kilter. The news – a stroke. A brain bleed. A series of seizures resulting in permanent and irreparable damage. Prepare for the end, in hours, days, or even weeks. Put work colleagues on stand by. Prepare clothing, a suitcase, travel documents. Call teachers. Contact family. Make dreaded, yet somehow ‘I-always-knew-I-would-have-to-do-this’ phone calls. Empathy. Sympathy. Shockingly and surprisingly, hot, salty tears.
How do you prepare for the end of something that began long before you even existed?
The beginning dawned 70 odd years ago.
The end is not far away.
Limbo will be no longer.
Some days are like that.
..and I speak with them, regularly.
I see my paternal grandfather, a carpenter, who built the shelves where these books always stood. I see him winding the toy tin goose, who waddled along red velveteen carpet to lay it’s golden eggs. He smells of wood shavings, cement and Swan Lager.
I see his wife, my nanna, who would recall her youth, her days as a flapper girl with a gleam in her eye. The woman who nursed in war, won this mirror as a trophy for sport, and who prayed to her Catholic God with the rosary beads in her slender fingers. Her nails, always polished clear, her hands always immaculate, right up to her passing.
I see my maternal nanna, who passed long before she ought, making pavlova and baking Christmas lunches in her kitchen, always attached to two items. First, the oxygen bottles and breathing assist tubes; secondly, the cigarette in a long holder and always, always in her hand. Even near her ending, her life was glamorous, melodramatic and flamboyant.
I see GG, operating his butcher shop in Fremantle. GG, always smiling and laughing, the pain behind his smile only obvious to those that knew. The jokes, the plastic cockroaches, fake fingers in the car boot, gemstone drum always rolling. His Delvene, I will always be.
I see family members, now long gone but once united. Long before family politics caused the drift, like oceans in the tide, the ebb and flow finally taking them away from me forever.
I see dead people.
And I miss them, everyday.