house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Monday, 28 April 2014

About Change

In the dream the mother and the father had just gotten off a train and were walking together, towards their grown up daughter. They were younger than this child of theirs, and beautiful. The setting sun made them shimmer like melting gold and as they walked closer the two appeared like one creature, complete and contained in their own love.

The daughter had never seen them like this.

'I've never known you like this' she said, meaning 'young', meaning 'magical', meaning 'in love'.

'It is important', the mother said, 'that you know.'


That day the daughter had reason to think about change - not changing jobs, places, hairstyle, shoes but changing long habits, behaviour, character, heart:  what triggers such change?

She remembered her mother falling ill. Collapsing in the bathroom, lifted to the ambulance, whisked away. Days without the mother and without news. Much later, the story of this illness: how they had put the mother on the strongest antibiotics, how machines did all the breathing for her and tubes did all the eating, how she just wouldn't wake up.

The doctor had finally called the father to say the following:

'She's gravely ill and yet she would get better if she wanted to.' 

As a statement, it was rather puzzling, not something a doctor might say.  The father flared up, what-do-you-mean, and there-must-be-a-way, and do-something-it's-your-job etc., but the woman shook her head, no:

'We've done our part. In healing, machines and medicines can do only so much. The patient needs to have something to live for, and do the rest.'

This, for my father, was the trigger. He walked to my mother's bedside and talked to her for a long time. She opened her eyes and he said everything again. They took the tubes out of her mouth, her arms, her chest. He came back the next day and told her the same story. Her temperature fell. She ate a little. She slept. Later he took her out of the hospital and began to do, to be, what he had told her. He gave her this gift he had pledged: his big heart, every day, for as long as it kept beating.


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