I am cold. I am cold even though it is bright outside. It looks warm. I have lost track of time. Is it Summer already? Inside days merge. Some are even lost completely. The irony is that just when time has suddenly become more precious I find it a fleeting entity, hard to keep hold of as it slips through my fingers like grains of sand. My hourglass is filling up exponentially but all I can do is sit and look; watch, wait and reflect.
Visitors start to arrive as I continue to gaze out of my window. Sure enough, there is Paul’s battered red Ford squeezing into a narrow parking space between a lurid green Mini and a gold Land Rover. He, Molly, and kids tumble out. For a second his guard is down and I notice how tired he seems. Then he looks up and catches me watching. His face lights up in an over bright smile that, even from this distance, I can tell doesn’t reach his eyes.
As I wait I adjust my scarf and ask for my pillows to be plumped up for more support. I want to be sitting up properly when I see them. I want to remember today for as long as I can and ensure a strong memory lingers. I want them to remember me and not my illness.
I have passed through a spectrum of emotions; disbelief, numbness, anger, guilt, fear and terrible crippling sadness. Why me? Why my family? I have already started grieving for what I am leaving behind.
But today is different. Today I am at peace and I am in charge for once, not this disease. Me! I know I will only have a small window of lucidity before I will have to self-administer more drugs, which are only ever a temporary relief from pain. But although it has won I won’t be beaten.
My family enter and Paul comes straight over to take my hand. He is gentle, like I am made of glass and could shatter into a thousand pieces at any second. His smile is sad and this time it does reach his eyes.
“It’s okay,” I say, “It will be okay.”
His Adam’s apple is bobbing up and down furiously and his top lip quivers slightly. “I don’t want you to go.” His voice catches and I can see him struggling for composure in front of his girls.
“I know,” I smile. “I feel it all; from what you want to say now but can’t, to what you may later wish you had said. Promise me you won’t ever look back in regret as I know your heart and love you for it. All of you.”
They stay for half an hour and I turn my head to watch as they slowly walk back towards their car. Paul stops, looks up, and places one hand across his heart. I close my eyes and press for more drugs.
It is time to say goodbye.