‘Grateful for …’ photo today is of Cliff and I sitting on the edge of the basketball court, watching Grant play with his mates until the school music goes. After we ride our bikes to school as a family, we enjoy watching him shoot some hoops.
It’s such a peaceful way to start a day.
Woke up feeling pretty good. Took the kids to school. Came home. Had a shower. Got dressed. Put on a simple, black dress and boots (coolish weather today). Went via school to pick up a class list and ran into Melissa Ross, who is a newish friend of mine. She was flying out to America today on her way to Vegas and then back to her childhood home with her niece. Like me, Melissa is American, but unlike me, I can’t call her a Yankee; I should just call her Scarlett. With that drawl of hers, I’m certain she could whip up a gorgeous gown from a set of curtains in an afternoon.
We had a super great chat, just standing there by the school front office. She then sent me a text later in the day inviting me for coffee, which I couldn’t do the next day, but look forward to doing in the new year. That made me happy to think we would both like to be friends. It’s optimistic and cheerful to make new friends or become better friends with someone I know only a little.
I went straight from there into the city for a meeting with Cliff and Douglas (Cliff’s younger brother) at the lawyer’s office.
12.15 p.m. Meeting with David Dawson Junior of the Dawson & Darmon Law firm. It’s a small miracle I didn’t walk straight into the conference room, plant both my hands firmly on his table and vomit out every horrible thing I’m trying to hold inside myself.
That’s what I kept imagining, throughout the whole meeting, was going to happen. At any second, my body would reject all this horribleness out onto the beautifully polished vastness in front of us.
Cliff, Douglas, David and I discussed my will and Cliff’s will.
Half of me tried to focus hard to understand the legalese and the other half tried to hold my guts and tears inside. I spared them the guts, but the tears wouldn’t be dammed.
David talked about all the scenarios:
If Cliff dies, what happens.
If I die, what happens.
If Cliff and I both die, what happens.
And then the Armageddon possibility: both Cliff and I and all our children die; for example, in a plane crash.
Cliff handled the whole thing beautifully. I asked him how he could be so unaffected about the decisions, the talk about his death, the horrific nightmare scenarios and strange, impossible futures, that now feel frighteningly possible. He says he could go through the motions in the meeting because it’s ‘just the responsible thing everyone should do’. (By-the-way, while you’re reading this, pause for a minute, open your electronic calendar and enter in a date next month, which will be your insurance/will day. Then hit ‘repeat’ and set it for ‘every four years’. That’s the advice we got from David in the meeting. Everyone should review their will and life insurance every four years. People’s lives change – birth, divorce, death, moving, etc. – and for your will to accurately reflect your wishes/stay relevant, it’s a good idea to check it and revise it, if needed, every four years. There ya go, free advice your relatives can thank me for.) It’s just peace of mind and good practice for big people.
Anyway, Cliff says he will not die from this cancer, so there is nothing to be upset about. The scenarios discussed today are only hypothetical.
Because all the doctors tell us so and because of our constant hours spent inside the hospital, Cliff’s death feels real. Imminent even. My emotions were being scraped raw in that meeting the entire time we discussed what we will do, how our lives will run financially ‘when’ Cliff dies. How nice it would have been to be oblivious, like Cliff, to the horror discussed around that meeting table. Denial is a gift. I support him in his gift but I don’t have the luxury of it.
3.40 p.m. Anne Kidd came up to me after school and said she was ‘so sorry’. I burst into tears. She said if there was anything she could do, to ask her. She said it was sincere and she wanted to help with the kids. She said, ‘I know the little two don’t know me, but I will do anything for you, and I’m sure they’ll be O.K., because they’ll be with Grant.’ Anne’s son, Ryan, is one of Grant’s good friends and basketball-playing buddies at school.
Usually I’m stronger than that. That was the messiest school pick-up yet.
Cried when Felicity talked to me, too. Poo. Crying is tiring. Tired now.
5.26 p.m. This is not O.K. This is not cool. This is NOT O.K.
Universe, in case you’re listening. This is not O.K. with me. This is not O.K. You cannot be doing this. STOP IT. Go pick on someone your own size.
7.26 p.m. While I am trying to put the kids to bed, instead of brushing their teeth, Leo makes a forest of Pick-Up-Sticks under the doona (quilt/duvet).
We all take turns looking at it with a torch (flashlight).
It’s so cool.
With a couple of Lego people the boys make their little people have big adventures in the Pick-Up-Stick forest. Ten minutes later to bed isn’t going to hurt anyone.