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.