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.
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.