Below you can find another chapter from the book Thank you, mum. I hope it touches your heart.
(For the Swedish version, scroll down and then select Next post.)
I was at work, in the middle of my exciting projects. The phone rang. Dad told me something that I didn't quite understand. You'd had a heart attack and were hospitalized.
I couldn't believe it. You. The heart of the family. Who organized everything from family gatherings to vacations. You had, after all, had your fair share of illnesses, but nothing could have prepared us for this. Your condition was critical, Dad told me. My colleagues were compassionate and told me to hurry to the hospital.
I made it there just before the operation was about to start. The fear in your eyes as they rolled you away, that image has never left me. Just like the fear in Dad's eyes when we could no longer see you. Dad and I waited for a long time. Finally, a young, tall doctor came. He told us the procedure went well. He drew it out for us. They'd done a quadruple bypass, taking veins from your legs, placing them around your heart. I remember Dad asking how long you'd live following this operation. The doctor responded ten to fifteen years. Dad was relieved, whereas I thought, only fifteen years. You wouldn't even turn eighty years old, Mum! You survived the procedure. You and Dad took courses on how to live a long and healthy life after a heart attack.
One day, long after you'd recovered, I went to see you. You wore a fancy blouse and a skirt. Black with white polka dots. You had plenty of beautiful clothes, although you used to save them rather than wear them to lounge around the house in. I wondered if you were going anywhere. You weren't, but you said you might as well enjoy the fancy clothes since we didn't know how much time we had left. That made me so happy.
Yes, Mum, just like that! Live your life! Wear your pretty clothes, use the posh china, and all your beautiful things. Time is yours, enjoy it! That wonderful insight didn't last long though. It was overthrown by the habit of saving pleasures and rewards for later through years of frugality.
During your last summer, we celebrated a birthday for one of our sons, and you dressed up in a gorgeous, shiny, burgundy blouse. Dad had found it in the closet; tag still on. Never worn. There are still beautiful, unworn clothes in your closet.
Thank you, Mum, for surviving that heart attack. So that my children got to experience an amazing grandmother, instead of just a vague memory of someone who passed away when they were young. It was hard enough losing you when we did, Mum, even though we had got used to the idea through the various illnesses stealing you away in little increments. We had gotten used to you not taking care of everything anymore, not even yourself. Instead, this gradually became Dad’s responsibility.
If we'd lost you then when you were still the family's core, when the kids were still young, when we were unprepared, we would have drowned in grief. Or, like Dad put it; he would have lost his mind.
Thank you, Mum, for hanging in there, thanks for blessing us with almost a whole decade more with you.
Please share this blogpost if you think it can help someone!
This was a chapter from the book Thank you, mum. A book for those who miss someone.
If you would like to give the book to someone you think can be soothed by it, or to yourself, you can find it on Amazon on any of the links below, or you can search for it on your Amazon of choice.
Amazon in the Netherlands (if the price of the paperback is higher than about 17 euros, check out another market)