I would tell them not to worry, that it had been expected, that she’d had a good life and then wonder why I should be reassuring them. It was time to be thinking about myself and my new position in the hierarchy of life. I would now be the one who sat in the winged armchair with a blanket – not yet, but soon because I know how time flies – looking over the heads of the grandchildren scrambling on the carpet for lost toy parts on Christmas Day. It would soon be me who could say what they wanted without fear of reproach except for that knowing look I have come to perfect over the years myself; the one that follows a stifled response, that moment when you can’t look the person in the eye because you don’t want them to see your fear of losing them so you look down or change the subject. The next moment, you are brought back together because they’re back to repeating an old family story again which used to annoy you but now serves as proof that there is still something in there; the stories have stopped being rewritten and the book is closed but it is a classic, a Peter Pan world and worth savouring those last few wise words.
But now things had shifted and I was facing my own immortality. Soon it would be my own children looking into my milky brown eyes, towering above my diminished frame and always trying to conceal the tension and rigidity of an arm at the ready to catch me because I am as fragile as an egg wrapped in tissue paper.
These were sobering thoughts as I entered the hospital side room and closed the door behind me. To my surprise, she was levitating.