Today I hounded my mum and my brother out of the house and down to the beach. It might just have been easier to herd cats over an obstacle course. All morning it seemed things were in the way.
It occurred to me that whilst dad was dying, we made the most of our days, we made things happen. Now he’s gone we tend to use our time carelessly, we spend it on trips to Tesco and television. We eat takeaways and forget to talk.
Togetherness has got to be just a little less valued. It is like the carpet, comfortable but sort of serviceable, hardly noticed. It is not something we write odes to, not even haikus…
Of course Dad was dying. That made everything different, special. It is strange how death’s approach brings brighter hues to the days in its path. It brings it own colours. We knew each blue sky might be the last one dad saw, the green hills almost extinct. Each day was a precious building block, a final memory to slot into our almost-memorial reaching up, arching away.
There was still shopping to do, chores, dishes, the mundane chunks of life as life and yet we made the moments work, made them stand out. We brought our best paints to the palette and strove for imperfect beautiful when we couldn’t do better.
It is a long established tradition – we make hay whilst the sun shines because we know rainy days are bound to come. When someone is terminally ill you see those clouds on the horizon, chewing the blue skies down to bones and blackness. You work fast with that at your back.
Now no one is ill, no one dying. We wrap ourselves in that sense of safety and pretend the rain clouds will not come again. All things end and yet we forget, we tell ourselves the sunshine will last forever.
I am trying not to forget. I want brighter colours without needing fear to sharpen the beauty and darken the shadows.
So I am trying to push more of my days out into the sunshine, to make the memories before they are again the last.