• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 07
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Learning to Love

I faintly remember the times that you vigorously washed and dried my hair on Sunday evening, the brush catching the edges of my ears as I squirmed and wriggled beneath the blistering heat of a hairdryer on full blast.
Often, I remember something else, I remember you squirming as I brushed your hair. Watching it fall out with each stroke as you got weaker and thinner. I cried again that night, wanting to be beneath you with the hairdryer burning my ears once more but it was never to be.
Last night at tea-time, I sat next to you on your bed, now placed in the living room because you could no longer manage the stairs, talked to you while I stroked your arm and held your hand. I tried to get you to drink the thick protein drinks you were given to keep your strength up but like a child you kept refusing.
I was a young mother, flitting between a 53-year-old and a three-year-old. Using what was left of my youth to care for you both. A mother's love. A child’s love. Life was blurred, a rush of nursery runs and hospital appointments. I did not stop because love is unconditional. When you passed away I ran, through the hospital corridors and out the door like I’d done many times when I was a teen and the pain inside me got too much but I soon realised it was still there and the only way to heal was through time and learning to love myself in the same way you loved me.