Sometimes you wish nothing else but to forget, just for a moment, that you’re ill. I had that moment today.
I lie on the couch tops and tails with my dad. He’s got the flu, so despite the warm evening he lies under a duvet. He holds my ankle, squeezes every once in a while. We’re a very cuddly family. We hug a lot, several times a day, and hold hands while driving. Mum sits at the dinner table, drinking coffee.
We watch a reality programme about an auctioneer. Mum and I think he doesn’t offer enough money to an elderly man who is selling designer tableware. Dad makes feeble attempts to defend the auctioneer, who has a business to run, before he falls asleep, still holding my ankle.
Everything is so ordinary. My dad’s peaceful breathing, the dogs that sleep on the carpet next to the sofa, smell of coffee and the milky white light of an early summer’s evening. It’s the midnight sun, it’s still light out.
I don’t understand people who say they love debating. I love it when people agree with me. Mum and I badmouth the auctioneer as a chorus, comment on the tableware and other items later sold at the weekly auction. Mum used to have an antique shop, specialising in tableware. She always has comments to make about tea pots, sugar pliers and plate sets that people don’t expect to be valuable but they actually are.
I mention that I like one of the tableware sets. She agrees that they would look good in my kitchen. She says she’ll try and find me some pieces from the series on one her many excursions to flea markets and secondhand shops. Into my forever home, once I get it. It’s such an everyday way to show love. I’ll find it for you, since you like it.
She has already found me a white teapot with flowers painted on the side and a golden rim and a matching sugar pot. She leaves them out on display into the office where I store all my stuff for the duration of my visit. She points them out minutes after my arrival. See, here are those things I was talking about. Aren’t they nice?
Yes, I love them. She knew that when she picked them. She knows what I like.
It’s so ordinary. So normal. It’s peaceful and homely and safe. This moment has been given to me. Us.
I don’t want to start thinking how things could be very different. I can’t start thinking that the first anniversary of my death would’ve just passed. You lose the rest of your marbles if you start going down that path.
My dad who wakes up, gets up and without a word presses his chin on top of my head in passing before laying back down. He rarely calls me by my name, he says crumb or darling or our little girl. I ask him does he mind the tapping sound when I go write this blog post, mum has put an extra desk in his office so I can write. In front of a window so I can see the forest. Does the keyboard bother him, should I close the office door?
It doesn’t bother him. He tells me to take his chair, it’s more comfortable than the one mum has put in front of the extra desk.
I write. My parents are asleep. The dogs let out little snores. The only sounds of the house are caused by their sleep and my writing. My cat is sleeping on a blanket on top of a shelf next to the computer. When I still lived at home, she often joined me when I’d stay up writing all night. She’d be curled up to sleep near the computer, occasionally opening an eye to check that I’m still there before continuing. We’re alike that way, observers in life.
As soon as I put my laptop on the table the cat jumped on top of the shelf, so that mum had to put a blanket there for her. We slip back into the old routine effortlessly. I’m older and so is the cat.
Blogging about your mental health is different, more personal. It was different if I wrote about makeup or clothes or recipes. I share my most vulnerable moments with complete strangers, my barest me. If I decided to delete the blog tomorrow and keep my illness a secret, it would be too late. Once you’re out there, you’re out there.
So it has to be balanced. I have shared some of my darkest moments here. It’s only fair I share some of the lighter ones. Of summer’s milky light.
Two deer run past the window into the forest. Everyone is asleep, except the cat who stirs occasionally to check up on me. In Finnish that sort of sleep is called ‘dog’s sleep’, quite amusing when it’s a cat.
I might have a bad morning in a few hours but for this one moment, I’m not unwell. I’m just here.