Mum and me, a few days ago. She was wearing the butterfly scarf I gave her last month, I was wearing the skull scarf she gave me. That's what you do when you're waiting for beloveds to die in hospital .... buy each other scarves.
I've always hated fathers day. I will never know what it's like to be loved by your true father. Most of the time I'm cool with that. It's just, my sisters and I have had three dads and now they're all dead. What the hell?
Dave and I took mum out for fish and chips near the water but it was too cold so we went inside. I tried to give her my comfortable chair but she refused. I wish I could give her my comfortable life but I can't. I'm surrounded by noise and people, lots of busy, distracting things. My mum has lost her husband and he won't be coming home. Jim, where did you go? I can't feel you.
We miss you. We miss you. We miss you.
Oh, it's wicked! It's awful. It's terrible.
Once when I was 23 I promised mum I'd come and visit her and Jim for fathers day but I stayed out all weekend with bikies and dealers at Blackmarket in Sydney. I was an arsehole .... this was back in the days where I'd blame every bad thing in my life on my fathers death and suicide. Back before I got sober. The drinks I would drink, in commiseration for my loss. Poor Eden and her dead dads. Pour Eden and her dead dads another drink. The no-show at mums house that weekend led to me admitting I might have a problem with ... how I was living my life. I went into a detox soon after that, so thanks, fathers day!
All of these years later I now have children with a dad of their own. So I still have to celebrate the damn thing. And we do ... my husband Dave never had a father either, yet somehow grew up to be a completely amazing one. He loves all of his children with a fierce kind of purity. It can happen ... men can be good fathers.
So. Yesterday, the wild wind creaked through my bones. I cannot try to narrate where my head and heart has been at these past few months. I'm hanging on as much as I can. But people we love, die. PEOPLE DIE. I've counted up on my fingers exactly who the people left in the world are whose deaths would destroy me. There's a fair few, and it's worrying. Times like this, I miss my rampant alcoholism because when you're a drunk you can't care about anybody, least of all yourself.
Now I care.
Back when Jim was in the stroke ward, he was in a room which had a hook on the wall but no painting. This shit me beyond belief ... who takes a painting off a wall and doesn't replace it? This is before he even made it over to the cancer ward. I vowed to one day put a painting on that wall in the room where he writhed in pain. And I did, yesterday. Had the painting in my car for weeks and it wasn't planned but I drove to the hospital where we spent so much time, parked in the carpark, and did not pay for my parking again. I never paid for the privilege of parking my car so I could go inside and watch Jim die. Fuck parking fees.
I took the painting inside and walked into the stupid fucking stroke ward and nobody said a word to me. I knew they wouldn't ... that stroke ward is hell. Nobody knows what they're doing. Nobody knew what was happening with Jim. I wanted to punch all the walls in the stroke ward and all of the associated stroke ward memories. I looked down to see if I had cowboy boots on but I didn't, just my red Gap ballet flats. You can't stomp around the world in ballet flats.
I'm not angry all the time. Most of the time I'm just really sad, and nobody has any idea because I look and act incredibly normal.
Walking into Room 3, I looked for the hook on the wall which I knew would still be empty and it was ... except, there was a piece of paper taped to it saying "INGE'S SWALLOWING INSTRUCTIONS." I turned to see a mattress on the floor, and an old woman in it. I guess she was Inge. I don't know why she was on the floor. Stroke wards are weird.
If I put the painting over her instructions, she could die and it would be my fault. So I propped it against the windowpane. Inge looked at me like she hated my guts, but I didn't mind. If I was ninety years old in a shitty ward with special swallowing instructions, I'd hate everyone's guts too.
The Swagman, by Peter Moore. He kind of looks like he belongs in a stroke ward. I wrote "Happy Fathers Day Jim 2/9/2012" on the back. The painting was from me, my sisters and brothers, and mum. It's probably already been stolen. That's ok .. this was just a kind of ritual thing for me to do on a day that I always hate. And to give something colourful to a ward with no colour.
I walked out of the hospital that Jim died in. I bet Inge wishes she could walk outside in the sunshine wearing red ballet flats. Got into my car, and drove off.
Didn't cry til much later.