‘Don’t die, Dad.’

A hot morning with the threat of thunderstorms ahead for the wedding day of my third daughter.

Such a strange time we’re having.

Weddings tend to be tumultuous affairs; at least in the preparations, and then on the day after all the work has gone into making the day happen, we get to event and it’s jubilant.

We’ve had the additional strain and relief of somehow getting my husband to the wedding between antibiotic infusions.

The hospital is treating him four hourly and it takes at least 30 minutes to get one dose through his system, first the antibiotic followed by a flush through with sodium chloride and water. Then they can unhook him, leaving the cannula in place and covered with a sock to reduce the chance of further infection.

My husband then has three hours, give or take, to go downstairs for a cup of tea so that he doesn’t go crazy cooped up in a hospital ward all day.

Last Tuesday I took him to the hairdressers. He was overdue for a hair cut and needed one before the wedding. His first trip out of hospital doors in over a week and he was exhausted an hour or two later when we arrived back on the ward.

Today’s is a much bigger outing given my husband will travel to the wedding to be part of the ceremony and give his speech – a short one, and now included within the ceremony as he may not last long enough beyond photos and into the reception before he needs go back to hospital.

It’s exhausting to think about. It’s exhausting to put together these two clashes of life requirements: the liveliness and celebratory nature of a wedding and the call for quiet and rest in relation to a life threatening illness.

But we’ll do it.

We’ll put them together and the one will colour the other. The one will feed off and nurture the other; the one will add a complexity and colour to an experience we’ll never forget.

When my husband first fell ill, when he sat shivering with the fevers brought on by this wicked infection that had crept into his blood stream – only we didn’t know it yet – I told him, ‘You must not die. Not now’.

The words of Les Murray’s poem to his father, Last Hellos, ring out in my ears:

‘Don’t die Dad, but they die.’

In this instance though, my daughter’s father has not died, and he will be there at her wedding with all the humour that is a feature of his personality, the humour and irreverence, and also the sincerity and authenticity that is a part of him, and we will celebrate this wedding with confidence and hope into the future.

By the end of today, it will be over and any images that accompany this post will give a taste of the day with all its colour.

For now, we’re on the brink of something new. And with it I hope my husband’s health will be restored.

He told me yesterday, he’s looking forward to doing things again, by which he means using his hands to make and mend.

He’s a craftsman and a man of many talents. It’s too soon for his hands to lie idle for long.

A wedding and a recovery, all in one.

One day, in years to come, my husband will die – as will I – but it’s too soon now.

Glory be to God for dappled things.

Years ago, in the days when most communications, other than
over the telephone, came in the form of mail through the post, I received an unprepossessing post card, dolphins leaping through waves? Some friend on holidays had sent it, I imagined, until I read the
words scrawled on the card.
Les Murray, who at that time was literary editor for Quadrant had decided to accept my story, ‘Hold on’ for
publication in his magazine.  No
matter that Quadrant was renowned
as a right wing magazine, I had finally had a story accepted for
publication.  I was a writer at
last.  A published writer. 
It was official. 

The pleasure of being published that day was more profound than for any publication since, but every time someone agrees to publish something I
have written, I am filled with some of the same pleasure; short lived as it may be.
Anne Lamott in her book, Bird by Bird, writes about the way in which, until your writing is
published, you imagine your whole life will be completely different, and better, for evermore after publication.  And then it happens. 
Something gets published, but your whole world does not change. 
At least, not simply because of the
Our lives change, as inevitably as day follows night, but
the changes come about through things other than writing, at least they have
for me, and yet here I am stuck in this fantasy of wondering what it will
be like once my book gets accepted for publication.  
I pinch myself.  My book is still not quite ready to send
out.  Nearly ready, but who will
want it, if anyone?
That same dreaded fear of rejection; that same secret
longing; that same hideous sense that someone will read my writing and say, ‘Sorry, no market here.  Nothing of interest to the general public.  Interesting perhaps, but not of
interest to us.’
This morning as I hung out the sheets, I considered my wish
that I be like Gerard Manly Hopkins.  An English poet and Jesuit priest, he wrote for the love of God – as in his 1918 poem, ‘Pied Beauty’ with its fine first line: Glory be to God for dappled things – or so he believed, or would
have us believe.  
Publication was
not within his desire.  He wrote
for the glory of God and given that God knew and read everything, Hopkins
always had a ready and willing audience.  
I can’t say the same for me.  For my own writing. 
I have no God-like audience, only a few people who visit my blog and others unknown to me who might read my writing in hard copy or elsewhere online. 
But if I can get this book of mine out into the published
world, then life will be different – or will it?
I’m not quite at the age where I imagine that every new
year that dawns might be my last, though of course it could be.  
Last night at midnight we went outdoors
onto our street, which sits atop a hill across from the city, to admire the
We do this every New
Years Eve, the highlight of our efforts at acknowledging the birth of a new year.
Our daughters laugh at us.  It’s hardly inspirational to go out onto the street and
dodge the trams of Riversdale Road and the few cars that flash by and honk
their horns in greeting.  But for us it’s enough.
The lights over the city were glorious, better this year
for the weather I expect.  A calm
cool evening without even a gentle breeze.  
I had also avoided too many drinks as I might sometimes do
by way of New Years Eve celebrations as I needed to collect our youngest from a
New Years Eve party in the wee hours of the morning. 
As it was, she called me at three.  Normally, she might catch a taxi but
they’re hard to come by on New Years Eve, besides, she, like her sisters, hates
to catch taxis when she’s the only one travelling.  
Young women in taxis late at night are vulnerable and easy
prey, especially if they have been drinking.
I decided I would rest easier if I could instead collect
her from her party, even if it interfered with a reasonable
bedtime post midnight on New Years Eve.
So I’m up late this morning, filled with a fresh desire to perfect my book.
Happy New Year to all my blogging friends.