I wasn't there but this was how I imagined it. Mum and Ginny sitting side by side on the couch that Tuesday night. It was late. The TV was on. No sleep between them. Their hands touching.
Ginny who was closest to Mum, had been since the Indigo children hit their twenties, the family diaspora. This because Ginny hadn’t scattered, had stayed, had put years into her job, had bought a house on her own, lived there on her own, the beautiful cage Mum sometimes called it, out of hearing of Ginny.
So sitting there, that night, and Mum’s grey hair pulled back and she with a glass of wine and both in their nighties and Ginny wan and struggling and Mum fake cheerful and struggling, and Ginny with her self-effacing bravery,
the bravery that had seen her suffer through the first weeks on her own, not wanting to make a fuss, not wanting to impose - except now neither of them could pretend; Amber had just called, Carrie and her were on a flight, would be home from London in thirty hours,
and it was just another nail driven home, events beginning to careen out of control, and the speed of events was fucking terrifying, four days, a flu, a virus, a death sentence, and soon, the family gathering, and the cocoon of shock was giving way, now, and as they sat and sleepless Ginny said, “Mum, I’m scared.”
What did you say to that? Mum would not have known, none of us would. Except, we were scared too. Maybe she told Ginny there was hope, always, though there was no treatment plan, the family gathered, it was obvious where this journey led,
maybe she talked of God, of his plans, of faith, or maybe it wasn’t that way at all, maybe it was the way where Mum cried, softly, and Ginny comforted her, they were side by side on the couch and Mum’s head on Ginny’s shoulder and Ginny telling Mum it was going to be okay, except they both knew it wasn’t, couldn't be, it was obvious where this journey led,
and maybe Mum apologised for moving away, for leaving, though Dad was sick, wanted to retire, wanted to get out of the big smoke, nobody could have known, and maybe they both thought of the visit of Ginny’s colleague Melissa earlier that afternoon,
Melissa who had seen more of Ginny than the family over the last few months, they had become close, were friends, and how they, Ginny and Melissa, had sat on the couch and held hands and not talked much, but we all, we all saw how desperately Ginny clutched her hand, and we all, we all knew we witnessed a goodbye, unspoken - feel better, soon -
and maybe it was all of those things or maybe it was none of those things, but I do know Mum and Ginny talked and talked true that night, admitted, reconciled, and Ginny told Mum what she would miss most were not her lost dreams but the future celebrations, the Christmases and weddings, the nieces and nephews.
And how she wanted to write letters to us all, I know she told Mum that. And when I think of Ginny now, I think of how her regrets were not of herself but of us, and I think of those letters, and I wish, wish there had been time for her to write them.
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