Breathe for me.
Watching you sip each breath, I want to breathe for you.
I want to inhale oxygen, pass it from my lungs to yours. And from there into that heart I love so much.
You hold my hand. I hold yours. You must hear my words for you. Wait and hope.
You were to grow to a ripeness greater than mine could ever be. You were to take my place and exceed it. After all, what else are parents for?
Though you must sense it, please don’t catch any of my doubt. Doubt enough that you could quietly slip away with maybe a nod as your leave.
Hold instead if you can my hope and love for you. Love and hope which will always exceed doubt.
Your illness is your present companion. And ours too. You may be able to fight it. You may need more strength, strength you don’t yet have. In either case, don’t worry.
Even though I don’t know how it will end, I do know that it will end. You can draw comfort from me even if it takes all my strength. That’s a small passing sacrifice.
If you could open your eyes, you’d probably laugh at me. Turning round and round like your Kitty trying to find a soft spot : a hard cushion on a metal chair. Don’t worry when you see me. Even in this small discomfort, I’d be happy to accept yours.
If you looked closer, you’d see I’m trying not to look. Trying not to look at the green numbers, the zig-zags and the flashing lights. Trying not to match them to your pulse, blood pressure, heartbeat and brain waves.
Trying not to look is all I have for you. I hope you understand if that isn’t enough. But you have all I have.
You should wake soon. You’ll look at me and your eyes will light up. Your hand will squeeze mine. You’ll look at the tubes running into you and out of you and laugh. You’ll wave at them and say, “Just a joke Dad, slept in again, gotta get up and outrun you today.”
You would send them away right now,wouldn’t you?
The door opens. A whitecoated crowd enter. Your eyes flick open. You’re an observer now. You long to catch my eye, I feel it. I stumble as they shove me outside.
You mustn’t listen to what I’m thinking. Especially now. You know you don’t have to make me wait anymore.
Still I’d rather hear from you first. Asleep, awake or unconscious, let me know. Until now you always kept in touch silently with me.
The door opens. They let me return.
You look so serene now. Any minute now you should be opening your sleepy eyes and shaking your tousled hair, and asking me, “Am I serene Daddy?”
Your eyes shouldn’t flutter like that.
You’re lighting the first candle aren’t you? So when I arrive I know its you.