My Father’s Eyes

They changed as you read; narrowed for villains, opened wide for victims and frowned for determined heroes.

You made us giggle by waggling your glasses and eyebrows.

You blinked as you marched us on sunny fossil-hunts, you peered into books and squinted at handicrafts you’d start but never finish.

Your eyes grew tired, old. One day, your eyes smiled love as we said goodbye but two days later, though they blinked, you were no longer there. Then they closed forever.

But I will only remember your eyes, sparkling as you told stories, bringing the characters alive, twinkling with love.

dad-in-pizza-express

Words and photograph copyright 2017 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission

Prompted by Thin Spiral Notebook

The Day After

I don’t think I can remember the day after. Or the day after that. Not really. I think we said goodbye to my sister and I took Mum home with me; all the way along the motorway and then south. Who knows what we talked about. I can’t remember.

So strange to leave you behind, to put off the paperwork and the phone calls for just a few days. I think I just took Mum home for the weekend.

Home to see the husband and children I’d left on Monday thinking I’d be away for two days on a course, not five days by a hospital bed watching lines waver and dip and jump and not really knowing what they meant.

Five days watching you ebb away; knowing you were gone long before Mum realised. Reading the Bible to you; holding hands around you; sitting in the limbo of the intensive care waiting room – families huddled and separate with more or less hope, each unit a lost island of distress in a dry sea of unshed tears.

My sister and I, we knew there was no hope, but Mum hung on till the last day.

So I could tell you exactly what we did every day Dad, right up to the time when we had to leave you and we ate dinner because there was nothing else to do; nothing left to say; no tears left. It was the only thing I could organise.

I can remember that, I can remember lying awake in bed that night – all three of us awake – numb, dreamlike. And I can remember wanting to text you: “I love you, I love you…”. But I can’t remember the day after. I think I took Mum home with me.

I think the day after: I grew up.

hand

Copyright 2016 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission