If you’re lucky – and I am lucky – one of the things that happens during periods of great stress or emotional upheaval, is that people who know you gather like bees, or like a shoal of doctors, to help you handle the horror. Usually family. Even if you’re not that close to your family, when people start dying or threatening to die, you tend to get thrown together and often realise you’re actually quite a lot closer than you thought you were.
I don’t think my family was close at all when I was growing up, although you don’t really notice when you’re a kid – or at least you don’t know any different. But when I moved away to college and saw how certain other families related to one another, I noticed. All that affection and all those declarations of love. Stuff I’d assumed only really existed in American sit-coms.
However, we’ve got closer over the years, and although we’ll probably never be as physically or verbally demonstrative as, say, the Cosbys, I think we’re massively more aware of how much we mean to one another, and how similar we are. Losing one of us in November 2012 probably helped. And I don’t mean that in a callous way.
In fact, what I’m saying is, it’s been good. Or rather, thanks to my family, there’s been good stuff, in there, amongst the dreck.
Also, it’s my mum’s 81st birthday tomorrow. Same birthday as George Harrison. George would have been 71. But he never made it. Fingers crossed my mum’s going to. The odds are in her favour. She’s been breathing on her own for a few days now – no nose-tubes, nothing. The various IV tubes are out of her arms too, and all she has to show for them is a collection of bruises so large and black that it looks like she’s been mainlining housebricks. But they too will fade.
Coincidentally, unless they’ve changed their mind since yesterday, she’ll be released from hospital tomorrow too. On her birthday.
No, wait. I just got a phone call – literally just now – and she’s not going to be released tomorrow at all. She’s going to be released today. Any time between now and 6pm apparently, the vagueness of which is actually quite annoying. But there’s no time to be annoyed.
There’s shopping to do.
And I’m grateful.