Alun’s parents left yesterday – to return to Wales. I finish work earlier now – on part time hours (YAAAASSSS!) so Alun was able to pick me up on the way to the Airport so I could say goodbye, too.
Alun waited under a Jacaranda tree for me, bless him. I work in a really beautiful area of Perth, surrounded by trees, birds and little insects and wildlife. It’s really lovely here.
We hugged each other tight; my heart hurting for Alun as goodbyes are always so hard. Alun looked into my eyes and said gently “I’ve got some news, Gorg. Your Mom has injured her hand and she’s in the emergency room at hospital. Kate (Jay’s wife) is with her so she’s not alone but she’d really like to see you”.
I swallowed the fear down, down, down…stuffing it into my shoes so I could function. Alun was talking again so I forced myself to pay attention. To listen.
“I think Kate’s one for drama and has said “it’s really bad, Alun” but as a Nurse, I don’t think it’s as bad as she thinks and your Mom’s gonna be fine – they’ll probably do surgery and keep your Mom overnight or for a few nights to recover, it will be okay”.
Oh Lord. It’s really bad. Oh no. Oh Mom!
I was panicking. Dizzy with it, I did my best to focus on Alun’s warm, brown eyes. He has super long lashes.
I wish I could have ones that long and thick.
Alun wove his fingers between mine and we walked to the car where his Dad was sitting in the front seat – worrying (Mr Thomas is easily prone to being highly stressed and anxious about very simple things, bless him) and Mrs Thomas was sitting in the back. They both waved as we approached.
My heart was racing, my palms were sweating and I had these awful sentences on a loop in my head, getting louder and louder as the seconds ticked by.
I opened the back passenger door and slid in next to Mrs Thomas.
“Your Dad died in Hospital, you know” my brain loves tormenting me.
Yes, I know. I know very well. I think about it every day.
“Your Mom’s probably going to die, too“.
She isn’t. It’s just her hand.
“But Kate said it was really bad. REALLY BAD. Do you get that?“
Yes. I get it. I’m scared. But Alun said it will be a routine operation and that my Mom will be ok.
“Ah. But your Dad went for a ‘routine’ operation too – you even talked to him when he was returned to his room after the operation – he sounded fine…then he was dead early the next morning“.
“So it’s highly likely that your Mom will die after her surgery, too. Hospitals are dangerous places that take loved ones away in the blink of an eye“
Oh shit. They do.
Meanwhile, the car is speeding along. Al’s Mom is doing her best to lighten the mood and ease his Dad’s frustration and deepening anxiety by talking about how lovely the weather is and how she calls our Aussie sky “the big blue”.
I couldn’t really engage.
I felt disconnected from reality and as if I was starting to float up and outside of my own body.
This isn’t good.
I went from shock, to panic, to grief…to COMPLETELY NUMB within the short journey from my work to the International Departures Gate at the Airport. It all happened within me so fast. All the while, I was nodding and smiling at Alun’s parents (was my face making the right shapes and sounds?), then reminding myself to be somber in the moment as Al’s Mom cried copious tears saying goodbye to “her boy” and Al’s Dad’s frown was so deep it almost reached the tip of his nose. He was shaking, visibly unsettled, looking around anxiously and clearly just wanted to get to the gate. It didn’t matter that we were there 3 hours before the flight, he just wanted to go.
I was aware but not really there. I feel so bad about that.
Alun needed me and I wasn’t emotionally or mentally available.
Physically, I hugged each of his parents tight “Have a safe flight, we love you” I whispered to each of them.
My Mom is going to die.
Alun and I waved as they disappeared beyond the boundaries that guests can go to. Alun put his hand in mine and squeezed. Tears fell down his handsome face.
I couldn’t connect to any of it.
Is my Mom going to die?
I knew I had to support Alun, so I squeezed back and stood on my tiptoes to kiss his cheek “I’m so sorry, Gorg – I know this is hard”.
How long until my Mom dies? Will she die during or after the operation?
I’m a very selfish person, so I wasn’t praying for comfort for Alun or healing for Mom. I wasn’t praying strength and blessing for Jay and Kate…I was worried about myself.
I can’t lose another parent, God. I really can’t. I can’t bear it.
We headed straight for the ED Room in the Hospital from the Airport. It was a long drive as the closest hospital to Jay and Kate is miles away from where we live.
A kind Nurse led us to Mom’s bed in Emergency. The Hospital is new with new fit-outs and bigger rooms. Alun was impressed but also felt competitive, bless him.
Mom was in the blue hospital gown. I was surprised that she looked so small in her bed. Her hand was bandaged up and resting on a pillow. I looked and the top of her middle finger on her damaged left hand was bent at a 45 degree angle. I took deep breaths to keep the nausea away. Fingers are not meant to bend like that.
Mom looked exhausted. I’m not used to seeing Mom like that. I’m worried she’s not getting enough rest at Jay’s now.
Alun and I chatted quietly to Mom – all the usual questions “what happened?” “are you ok?” “does it hurt?” “can we get you anything/do anything to help you?”.
Mom is as tough as a Welsh Rugby player and didn’t show any visible signs of pain. If anything, Mom complained about having to fast before surgery and wanting something to eat. Bless her.
We could only get an hour’s parking at the Hospital so we had to leave.
I felt numb inside as I hugged Mom and whispered “Be a good girl (I say this to both my parents whenever we say goodbye, I’m used to parenting them both) Mom, I love you”
Mom waved “Go, so I can play with my phone. Haha”
And we left. Just like that.
All the way home and all of today, I’m wondering if that’s the last time I’ll ever see my Mom again. I should have stayed longer. I should have said more meaningful things.
I should, I should, I should…
I’m in work pushing myself towards the end of the day while keeping a wary, anxious eye on my phone. Mom messaged she’s been moved to a ward, is ok but hungry and hasn’t yet had surgery.
I keep messaging “I love you”…on edge that it will be the last time I get to say it.
I hate this.
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