When our youngest son Sullivan was a preschooler, he coined the term ‘faraway pictures’. It took us a while to work out what he meant but with patience and carefully poised questions we discovered its meaning was memories. I fell in love with the idea of faraway pictures from that day.
Today, I’m the one having faraway pictures.
Ray is isolating in the bedroom after coming down with Covid very quickly and harshly on Friday. I am SO thankful we are managing his symptoms at home so far. I am so grateful he is here, though not fully. Sullivan and I are doing our best to avoid infection but I must admit to feeling like a ticking time bomb.
Rattling around the quiet flat with Sullivan gently following my footsteps suddenly gave me belly ache. The stillness of our home felt eerily familiar and then it hit me. I was transported in my mind back to the two times Ray was hospitalised with cellulitis and sepsis. The time when your other half, your love, is seriously ill is like everything and nothing all at once. The air is thick, the stillness where there was once chaos and laughter seems to buzz aimlessly in your brain. You can’t think but your head fixates on nothing but them. There are fleeting moments of distraction but within minutes the blanket of what-ifs is firmly wrapped around you again. Occasionally Ray and I softly and jokingly touch on those times together but today’s faraway pictures really made me remember.
When I was a young girl, my dad was crashed into by a drunk uninsured driver and nearly killed. I can’t imagine what my mum went through during those awful days and weeks but also the years after too. I still see Ray’s face so clearly when he just gave up breathing in bed because his body was too exhausted to carry on. I vividly remember seeing his whole lower leg throbbing red with every heartbeat, like a beacon signalling desperately for help. Wandering my own home like a ghost whilst he was in hospital, empty, trying to be a present mother to the boys. Probably failing. What must my mum have memories of? My dear friends and family, I know some of you hold similar traumas and I’m so sorry if your memories are suddenly and unexpectedly triggered like this.
Faraway pictures sometimes fade with time but some will always be ever present.
For now, I’ll try to sleep. I’m crushed my brave, strong husband has been forced into a shadow of himself because of this virus and I’m scared for myself and Sullivan but we are prepared for the fight. Just like our wars together before this.