It was summer, 2003.
I look at him as he lies there. He can’t tell me how he is feeling. I watch him toss and turn uncomfortably with, obviously high, fevers; I listen to his incoherent mumblings and grunts of pain. I sit like this by his bed for, what seems to be, ages. I write in my book or just look at him. Love him.
After a while, I go downstairs for the occasional smoke. Little did I know I would be pregnant in a few months. And then my cigarette triggers a thought; he may not be able to speak or have enough energy to hear or listen to anything anyone else has to say while battling this awful disease, but he probably hasn’t lost his sense of smell. It might be even sharper than normal now that everything else is failing him. I feel embarrassed because what he smells by his side all day is me and, with me, the stench of tobacco. I know how disgusting this must be for an avid non-smoker. I leave and walk over to the shopping mall just across the hospital.
How often I have roamed this place while waiting for a procedure or operation for Dad (as well as for Mum). I know where the coffee is good, where to get the best groceries and I know where to do some mindless window-shopping. I dream about this mall very often. I am alone in all those dreams.
Passing time with a sad feeling in the pit of my stomach, I go across to the flower shop and buy a large bunch of lavender. I am pleased with myself. Dad is a flower-man. He was brought up in the countryside and he might enjoy this. Lavender is a scent that is supposed to calm you so I hope this is a good idea all around. I have a Latte in one hand and the bunch of lavender in the other. And I am nervous about finding him in whatever state he is in this time. Tired of never being able to find a doctor who has anything useful to say. And so, I decide to have a cigarette after all. I wonder how he feels and will he remember anything when he wakes up out of these spells of fever? Will he know I was there every day?
Over the past week, I managed to stay with him all day and occasionally read my emails or some reports. And then at the end of the day, mum comes to visit him and I go home for some yoga and give my self some rest. After dinner, I start working; work that needs attending and I reply to all the emails that have come in.
I am tired. But feel so happy when after 3 days, Dad has woken from his fevers and asks me who put the lavender next to his bed. Yes, he did smell the lavender while lying there. He told me it had made him feel better. This makes me very very happy. My life is full of baby steps these days. Important mini-successes. As it will be for a while to come.