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.)
"Remember to prepare Annika, so that she won't be scared."
That's what you said to Dad when I was very young and we were going to visit you at the hospital. You knew that I'd find it frightening with the sterile, white environment. You knew I'd be scared to see you that way, pale and gloomy, with tubes all over you. So, you asked Dad to prepare me. It was beneficial, it was as if it wasn't even you lying there in that bed. You even smiled and talked in the same way, just with a more tired voice. During one of your hospital stays, you knitted a sweater for me that I've kept to this day. It had its own pattern; one you'd made up on your own. You never followed other people's patterns.
When I, myself, happened to get hospitalized, after having a crash on my motorcycle, I was scared to call you. How would you, who so often worried about me, deal with the fact that I was in hospital?
I called, making sure to tell you I was fine, right off the bat, but that I was in hospital. You were calm. Peaceful even. That's a reminder to us that our worrying is always worse than reality. Our worries can grow uncontrollably, our imagination has no boundaries. When something does happen, we're always able to deal with it.
Thanks, Mum, for preparing me for the hospital visit. I thought about it when we finally got to visit you after you'd been admitted - we didn't know it at the time - for the last time. Due to Covid restrictions, we hadn't seen you in a week. We'd been getting reports from the hospital, both good and bad news. Like that one time you'd stumbled into the doctor's room.
“Whoops! I'm not supposed to be in here."
Then, you'd been talking in English to the staff. You probably thought you were on vacation.
One report made us smile from ear to ear, hearing that you were doing well.
"She's with us, drinking, eating, and laughing."
We were so relieved and so happy. I put it down on my list of magical moments.
Then, things took a quick turn for the worse. When Dad called to tell me we were allowed to come see you, we suspected something was up. Why now? Why so suddenly? Were you dying? Is that why? When we saw you, bundled up in a wheelchair with layers of blankets to keep you warm, Dad turned to me and said, teary-eyed:
"Oh, how sick she looks, and so fast! My poor, dear Monica!"
We sat down and hugged you, for the first time in what felt like forever. I didn't think you looked too sick. You just looked the way one does in hospital, nothing to worry about.
Thanks for preparing me, Mum. Thanks to the hospital staff for letting us see you despite restrictions. It turned into a beautiful, emotional, and terribly hard meeting. You were so happy to see us, but seeing Dad made your entire day. Your hands traced his whole face, you pulled him closer. You hugged, you kissed, and you smiled again. Not a tired, weak smile, but a big smile reaching from ear to ear. The kind of smile mostly seen on little kids.
The staff asked us to make our visit brief. We didn't care about that. We stayed until they asked us to leave. We wanted to savor every second together. When we left, you were still happy. Sure, we all look dreadful in hospital, Mum. But when we left, you looked marvelously happy.
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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)