We're still here. We 'celebrated' eleven months to the day since M's accident on Tuesday. Eleven months! How wonderful, WONDERFUL, it is not to know the future. I can't tell you how I've managed it, and I certainly wouldn't have wanted to know, at the beginning, that this could be the reality.
Times have been very shaky. My M has had physical, emotional and psychological challenges which have stripped him of independence, flesh, ability, dignity and strength. He's been back to ICU twice, with dangerous collapses and arrests. I've had to have the 'how much cardiac resuscitation does the family want?' conversation several times. I've had a long visit home, during which I did nothing but grieve for 18 of my precious 21 days. The last three days I spent in wonder, looking at the exploding garden - the drought has well and truly broken! The roses are magnificent and I so enjoyed taking a huge bunch of them back to the ward. They lasted nearly 9 days and were a wonder to behold in so many ways. ENOUGH.
I have had a trough of sadness lately, to dig through my thoughts and feelings and try to find something to feel optimistic about. But today, as I schlepped through the mall, again, trying to remember why I'd gone there, again, and not just because of christmas, I suddenly thought this: enough. Enough of worry and uncertainty and helplessness and insomnia and broken plans and sad faces. And spending, and thinking about christmas, and what's for dinner and why won't the last noisy pub patrons go HOME so I can get some sleep (if you value your quiet nights, don't live in a pub!).. enough. I can do this. M has no choice; he is suffering very badly from such a very long and fraught hospital stay and he keeps going. Not as sweetly as usual, but he does it. Day after day. And, somehow, so do I. ENOUGH.
I don't have to cook, clean, garden, change the cat box, deal with doorknockers, ring the plumber, put the bins out or do anything much for anyone unless I feel like it. The expectations others have of me are very simple - stay standing and keep writing. Come home when I can. ENOUGH.
A large chunk of my extended family visited us this afternoon, and we all sat in the ward courtyard and sang carols.. with kids wearing blinking Rudolph noses, other patients wheeling around, and the breeze cooling us in the humidity. Spontaneous; simple; ENOUGH.
Tonight my step-daughter and I shopped for some extra food to take into M tomorrow. And what a delight to IGNORE christmas foods and plans and must-haves, and realise that all we wanted was the makings of a fairly simple picnic, largely from the deli and fresh food sections. A quick bottle of bubbles and some plastic champagne glasses. ENOUGH.
We will stay with M til we are sated with unwrappings and the humour of what the hospital will serve for lunch. We will do his washing even though 'it's christmas' (we still need clean jox, right?). We will share our goodies and sing together for whoever is around. We will nap in his room after the sun makes us sleepy, and later the two of us will go to the beach to lie and sigh on the sand until we have had... enough.
And on Sunday, the world will begin to turn again, and all the things we usually do that didn't happen won't matter, and all the new things we did will, and I for one will continue to feel so very lucky in my family and friends. Because this year, if nothing else, I have learned that when it comes to love, there is always ENOUGH. It doesn't run dry, go away or leave you dangling. It doesn't criticise or restrict you. Love in all small and large ways, is how we roll from one day to the next, cradled in the concern and hopes and wishes of loving people.
except... I DID buy some more perfume. Vivienne Westwood 'Let It Rock'. Indeed!