I have returned from my last pre-baby trip to Hawke's Bay to a run of sunny days in Auckland. Thank god for that, because I was utterly miserable when we departed on Monday. The idea of not being able to
spend any time with Mum and Dad between now and when the baby is a few weeks old is distressing. As things go with babies, it could be up to six weeks before the baby arrives and I'm not sure when we'll feel confident enough to take the baby to Mum and Dad. My guess is that it will be at least two months before I see Dad again in person.
It could be worse, I suppose. A month ago, when I finished work, it looked an awful lot like his death was imminent (weeks or days away -- anything further is no longer 'imminent' or even close, to me). Dad is
now much more stable than he has been for a while so I shouldn't suppose that my departure on Monday was the last time I'll see him. The thought has crept into my mind however, brooding in the corner
like a malevolent spirit waiting a turn to take my controls.
I am engaging with uncertainty in a sustained manner for the first time in my life. Dad's illness and the baby's arrival are pretty big, as uncertainty goes. Sure, I spent 5 months unemployed in 2010,
freaking that I'd never get hired in London to do anything I'd trained for, but that uncertainty had options -- look for other work, move back to NZ. I was supported by P's paycheck, which made it certain we could still pay rent and buy food. This kind of uncertainty can't be pragmatically supported in the same way.
So, at 35 weeks + 6 days, here I sit, unable to travel any longer.
Air New Zealand puts the cut off at 36 weeks. Dad, Mum and P banded
together to ban me from buying impulse tickets next weekend to visit
(just for a night, I said, to no avail).
I fill my days now with light activity. I purchased new sheets and
bed linen yesterday, acting on impulse. I wash things. I caulked a
little this morning. I mop up after the gib stopper. I call the
glazier. I make dinner. I have baths to soothe the baby and my back.
I speak to Mum and Dad twice a day. I avoid social engagement where
possible. I don't think about things, usually, because that way
I have devoted some mental real estate to Lecretia Seales, however.
During the course of my last trip to Hawke's Bay, Lecretia died and
the judgment regarding assisted euthanasia and the New Zealand Bill of
Rights Act 1990 was released. Trust me, I devoured Lecretia's blog
and the judgment, poring over it in the hope that we would be able to
have a sensible public debate about thie end of life. I am still
stewing it all internally -- not only the big principle issues, but
also the evidence I found in the judgment about what the end will
involve for Dad. I ought to have expected to have found that kind of
expert evidence. I didn't, and now I don't know whether I'm glad or
horrified to have read it.
If you don't know, Lecretia was a 42 year old New Zealand lawyer who
was diagnosed with a brain tumour and wished to have the option to
pursue physician assisted suicide if she felt that her life had become
intolerable due to the impact of her illness. While Lecretia's
diagnosis/prognosis was slightly different to Dad's, the parallels
were undeniable and the similarities between Lecretia's life and
personality and my own (and Dad's, too) made her plight and decisions
compelling for us. I genuinely grieve her death. I am so grateful
she took the steps she did to get New Zealand to engage in a
conversation about the end of life.