I’ve not mentioned small person much so thought I ought to let you all know how she handled everything so far. She’s definitely a serious mix of both father and mother, she’s got his short temper at times yet can also spend hours and show amazing patience when required which is very much me.
She was woken that morning by my frantically letting the ambulance crew in and them stumbling over various boots and shoes in the dratted small narrow hallway. She came flying out of bed to see her Daddy heaving to breathe with an oxygen mask over his face and already grey by this point. My “I must keep this going” kicked in and I grabbed a couple of brioche, flung her dressing gown at her and took her downstairs to my amazing lovely friend and neighbour who immediately could tell it was serious this time. She happily went in as she’s so used to the unexpected arrival of ambulances and blue flashing lights and up until now it had only meant that he’d be carted off to hospital for a few days and she’d get to sleep in my bed and eat McDonalds for tea on the way home from Oxford, simple things that make them so happy. “Don’t tell Daddy I had a cheese burger for 2 nights running as he’ll moan about rubbish food again, can I have one tomorrow too after we’ve visited?”. McDonalds was our saviour on most of his hospital stays, it takes nearly an hour to get to Oxford from her school so by the time I’d driven back, collected her and then driven back again it was far too late to start bringing out my inner Nigella. To be fair, I’m a pretty good cook, I love cooking and although I’m not James Martin most of our meals are freshly made and contain lot’s of veg and all the good healthy stuff. I remember back in the baby weaning days following a recipe where you have to shove a banana though a sieve………..never try this!
Anyway, she was happy and having fun with my neighbour and her lovely little boy so I shot upstairs, found her uniform and running gear as she does a running club on a Thursday morning and frantically messaged another lovely friend to see if she could pick her up for me. He’d died by now so the adrenalin had kicked in, I think my levels were now higher than his as they’d pumped so much into him. I went back down, got her ready and when she asked about how Daddy was I just said “he’s still with the ambulance men sweetie”. I didn’t lie, but I couldn’t tell her, it hadn’t sunk in for me yet and I knew and felt that the best thing I could do (sometimes I do think rationally!) was to get rid of her in the nicest possible way so I could deal with what had to happen next. Both friends that helped me that day have names starting with a K, only just thought of that, how strange. The 2nd lovely and amazing K of the morning came and collected her, gave me a hug and a wink and a sort of communication that only us women can do so she knew that he had gone. I felt so relieved that small person was off and safe and non the wiser that I could have kissed my friend but she’d probably have thought I was mental and I hadn’t cleaned my teeth either so wouldn’t subject anyone to that!
You know how the rest of the morning and early afternoon played out. Once I’d kicked the outlaws out and rolled up the rug and stuffed the throws out of site I rang the school and asked if I could pick her up 15 minutes early, I didn’t want to see anyone, I just desperately wanted her home. BUT, I knew she was expecting to be picked up and driven to Oxford and get a cheese burger for tea and some more plastic junk that comes in a happy meal. How on god’s earth do you tell a 7 year old little girl that her Daddy has died?
Well, not correctly according to her. I went into the office, they bought her over, she looked most confused. I got her to the car, she asked why I’d picked her up early so I took a deep breath and said “I’m so so very sorry to have to tell you this but Daddy died this morning”. Big blue eye’s looked at me for a millisecond and then she burst into hysterical tears. I can’t remember how long we sat in the car with me holding her but we got home somehow.
Once home all went back into a weird normality, she wanted a snack, a drink, watch some weird American lady on YouTube who does video things about plastic crap things that are the bane of my life and it was as if it was the day before when everything was normal. I’m hiding in the kitchen now, yes, there’s wine left thank god. There’s crisps too, I need to eat something and crisps will do for now, dunk crisps into wine, much better than making biscuits soggy in tea.
“Mummy, I’ve been thinking”. OMG, what about. OMG, you can actually think then if needs must. OMG I can’t think straight on a good day, please don’t be thinking anything to clever, not today.
“I think the way you told me was wrong. You should have started like this; when Daddy was struggling to breathe the ambulance men were trying to help him but even though they tried really hard they couldn’t help him and then he died, not the way you told me, it was too quick and you blurted it out, you could have done it better and also if he was dead why did you pick me up early as I was making a town with my friends in class and now I won’t get to finish it, you could have waited”.
I apologise and explain that I didn’t know how to tell her so it just came out. “It’s okay Mummy, but I’m just letting you know that you could have done better”.
Ever been hit round the head with a baseball bat? Me either but that was the metaphorical version.
I head back into the kitchen to top up the wine…………………she’s most certainly her mothers daughter. We’ll be okay, we’re team us and now closer than ever. I cook fresh food for dinner and we start our new journey together.