We were at the lake this weekend, at the bach that Dad purchased a share of in the time just B.D. (before diagnosis). It was tough to see him sleep for lengthy periods and sit quietly on the deck, sheltered from the sun. He'd usually be the first to direct the walk, to back the boat down the ramp into the water, to run into the water for a swim.
I didn't do many of those things either this weekend, preferring instead to stay close to him where I could. My stomach has been feeling slightly uncomfortable and stretchy, of late, and I think the depression surrounding Dad's illness kicks in a little more when I see him in person, which in turn makes me feel physically drained. I sat on the couch with him, joked about all his pills and I asked about the hairloss and the dimming of his vision, but mostly we talked about small things. We watched the opening game of the Cricket World Cup and cheered the Black Caps on together, but I don't think he could see much of the action ('was that a four or a six?' 'what's the RPO now?' 'who bowled that?').
I heard murmuring through the wall at night. It's simultaneouly reassuring and awful to know that Mum and Dad were chatting quietly together in the dead of night - reassuring because they're in this together, awful because I know why they're awake. I also heard some terrible snoring coming from my sister K, which was mostly just reassuring because I want her to sleep while she can. I don't know what she's thinking a lot of the time (I think I once did? When we were young and lived together and knew each other better than anyone else) but I hope she's managing to find peace in all of this. We call each other more regularly, now. We don't say much, but we do share each nugget of information or insight into how our parents are feeling.
We arrived home about 7.30 last night. Cocoa was waiting on the step but Tabitha was nowhere to be seen. It was unusual and she didn't turn up until 1.30 this morning. Christ, I was so relieved. I do not need any more death or despair on top of what's already going on, not that there would ever be a good time to lose her. I am funnelling so much love and affection into those cats who don't have a clue that things aren't as they should be.
The next visit I'd booked is for Easter, some seven weeks away. I don't think I can leave it that long. I want to make this finite time we have left last as long as I possibly can. Plus, I think Mum needs me. A colleague the other day commented that I must be wishing time away to get to June and my departure on maternity leave. No, I snapped, I want it to stand still right now. I felt terrible and apologised - she doesn't know the finer detail of what's happening in my life and it was well meant. Yes, I'm looking forward to meeting this baby but no, I can't fathom that we're probably only going to get further away from Dad as he should be. As he was.
(Christ, the past tense has made me cry.)
I have the 20 week scan this week. I haven't yet identified any clear movements from the baby which, although probably normal, is making me nervous. I have been considering whether we should find out the sex to share with Dad, just in case. I couldn't bring myself to ask whether he wanted to know though - it felt too much like saying 'what if you die before July?' out loud. I can't say that. I won't say that. Maybe we'll ask for one of those envelopes with the sex written on a note inside, that I can offer him if and when things change. I hope the baby is fine and healthy; worry is pulling at my heart.