I miss Okinawa.

But when I’m with you, I’m exactly where I want to be.

I look at you

as your body caves in

as your flesh evaporates

as your pulse throbs in your neck

And I think how precious that small percussion is.

When I look at you,

I don’t shy away.

I thought it would be harder to see you like this,

But it’s not.

Perhaps because I know how excruciating it was

To not be here

To not be with you.

My eyes don’t hesitate to rest on your beloved form.

It’s different now.

It’s not the one I remember.

Each day is an exploration

There are more losses of familiarity to mourn

But you’re still here

And I’m with you.

In days ahead, the losses will mount,

And one day, there will be nothing more to lose.

But for you, there will be nothing more to gain.

That’s ahead.

In this moment,

I’ll hold your hand,

I’ll stroke your hair,

I’ll massage your temples.

And I’ll savour this tender, sacred space.

I’ll treasure the flutter in your neck,

That metronome of love

That binds me to you.


Many thanks to my friend, Lenore, whose description of that "sacred, tender place" was so helpful in putting words to our emotions in those last days, and also in giving us permission to honour and protect it in a way that I believe honoured Mum and God.