My Mum and Dad went home to Australia yesterday. It never gets easier, saying goodbye, but how blessed we are to have had their selfless help over the last month. Molly and Indie lived life with them barely noticing we were not there. It took so many worries from us – Tim and I knew the girls would be OK. And they were. I am sure though, that Mum will sleep all the way home (mouth open, probably!), as she did not stop working for a second. Laundry was cleaned almost the second it hit the floor; bins emptied daily (what? People do that??); the fridge was filled to overflowing; kids were always dressed perfectly, hair done, meals cooked (mostly before midnight even) and lawns mowed. It makes me smile to think how Mum and Dad’s roles slightly changed this time. I would not dare to say “reversed”, because let’s be honest, Dad has still only changed three
dirty nappies in his whole life, (3 of them in the last three weeks). But this time, it was Dad who took on the hurculean task of playing/keeping the kids occupied. Molly would reach for him when she wanted to play, and for Mum when she wanted food. The old favourite, that never-ending game of “airports” will never be played the same while Poppie is not around. Poppie is a stickler for the rules. He makes everyone get passports and luggage tags; insists on x-raying bags and making passengers line up; then he personally makes flight announcements, enforces the seat-belt rule and serves in-flight snacks. It takes hours. Jesse was glad to get the tail end of airports. Next to Mum and Dad’s, it’s his favourite game.
It was wonderful not to have to take Indie and Molly into the hospital with me three days a week. Jess and I would be up at 6.30am to be there for 8am, but Indie and Molly could sleep in with Mum and Dad to watch them. To be honest, both the girls are so tolerant and easy-going, that I don’t think it will be any great imposition for them to have to come with us for the next few months. I’ll just make sure that we do something exciting afterwards, take our bikes, have a picnic, find a new park. I LOVE summer holidays.
However I’ll miss my parents so much. We really are friends. It is still so hard not being able to pop over for a coffee. But they have been right here every single time we have needed them, and I hope I can grow to demonstrate half of their selflessness. So many neighbours popped in to say goodbye – Mum and Dad made their own friends here while we were off galivanting with new kidneys.
Jess is gorgeous. Now his body is settling into life with Daddy’s kinney, his potassium, phosphate and magnesium levels are normalizing a little bit more. His numbers this week were stable. Which for him can only translate into one thing: food. He was over the moon last night because we let him have more tomato sauce on his sausage than he has had in two years. I think he had much more sauce than sausage. Then he had some chocolate-chip cookies, and some nuts. Nuts! Chocolate! Sauce! The joy of it never escapes him. He lifted up his fork with a victory salute and said in his word-reversing way “Now I can have whatever much I want!”
He currently takes 25 pills a day, and has 5 injections – four are insulin, and one is what we call the “nasty needle” for a blood clot in his neck caused most probably by his catheter. He is astounding at taking his pills. Just pops them in his mouth, takes some drink and “throws them back” as he says. Tim taught him how to swallow pills when we got home from hospital two years ago. I am so grateful for it that I reckon Tim should teach a class to other “hospital” parents. It makes pill-taking absolutely painless.
Tim is also feeling almost back to normal. I love seeing him happy again. His Dad was absolutely amazing and took care of many business details so Tim could slip back into it the busy season when he felt able to, rather than having no choice. Tim could no more live without his parents than I could without mine. They took care of him in every way when I could not.
So now, we are back to just us. It’s a bit weird. We all held hands and prayed last night before my parents left and thanked God for how he brought us through so much, so well. I remember the minister’s sermon at my niece’s dedication. He said how in the middle of a prenatal class he was taking with his wife in a hospital, a guy had burst in the room, announcing his wife had just given birth to a son. He was so overwhelmed, he went around the room shaking the hand of everyone there, saying “thank you”. The minister said the scene struck him as sad somehow – the new father knew something wonderful had happened to him, and he knew he should be grateful …. he just didn’t know who to thank.
My heart runs over with thanks to our faithful God, the Creator, the Giver of Life, and the one who never ever leaves those who love him for a second.
P.S Keira’s family, the six month old little girl we met in Toronto, got word early this morning that today is the day – a liver has been donated by a pretty incredible family dealing with their own loss by giving life to another. Pray for Keira. The operation starts at 5pm and will take around 12 hours.