Funny how we make plans for life and hope, only to be reminded of how finite our lives and hopes are anyway.
I stare at my Popo's numerous tattoos, now lost in the folds of his sallow skin, but they give nothing away. Tonight, the doctors say it could be tonight. I huddle his shrunken hands in mine and try to marry these images with the ox of a man I once knew. A truck driver and ex-British, ex-Australian solider.
But so much more.
A man with a humble family history in England and merge beginnings in Australia that are my rights to pride and a sense of value and belonging. A man who showed me how the imperfect love between him and my grandmother was perfect enough to last almost 50 years. That his daughter, my mother, Skinny Ninny as he called her, was a diamond in his twilight, as precious to him as the daughters she birthed.
Leaning close to the wispy hair coming out of my Popo's ear I whisper, "You were the first man to tell me I was beautiful." I seems important to say. In the absence of my father's adoration my grandparents have always held me in their palm like the petals of a rose. Visiting their house was like coming home to logs fires and hot chocolate. How do you say thank you for refuge from the howling winds of your childhood?