It’s supposed to hurt.
Sure, the natural response is to run around trying to find relief, any anodyne to make the pain go away.
But someone whose words I trust said that this is special – an intimate time spent bringing comfort when the whole world has shrunk to one small bed with both sides raised.
And it’s true – filling a glass with cold water, small enough for the once-strong hand to lift it without shaking; correcting the clock on a mobile with it’s stupidly small keypad; calling the nurses to raise the bed “because if I do it I might give you whiplash” and seeing the ghost of a smile – getting cross running back and forth to fill waterjugs just so, simply so you get to boss someone around from the prison of one small bed.
And I’m not being brave on the inside.
See, my optimistic and upbeat Dad blames his rapidly declining health on chemo side-effects, too little sleep and noisy wards – anything except incredibly aggressive cancer. This leaves no chance to have the important talks, those kerb-side chats where you bring up the vital issues before everyone drives off.
So I pour my love into glasses of water, fold it into specially-requested newspapers, channel it into calling nurses or adjusting the aircon, and say it in every “goodnight Dad, see you tomorrow”.