Event 1: In March I was in the middle of a major project for work when my mum was admitted to hospital. The doctors were worried she may have had or was about to have a heart attack. I was over 1000 kilometers away, with the Cook Strait between us. I was terrified my mum might die without me being able to say good bye and I love you. Which could actually happen at any time for anyone, but I really enjoy floating down the river Denial on my lilo shaped like a donut. Fortunately, her heart was declared healthy and she was sent home with blood pressure medication. A question rose up in me: do I really want to continue to live so far away from those I love the most?
Event 2: Last week I travelled to my parents’ home for a short visit. It was my stepfather’s (or Pops as I affectionally call him) birthday. We had a really happy time together and I enjoyed being able to help them in ways I can’t when I’m not there physically. I also saw how much support they currently needed with their property and business. My answer to the question that had been swimming around inside me since March became clear. Now it was time to start preparing to move home.
Event 3: On the plane back to where I currently live, I got this feeling that my mother may die now. It alarmed me, so I kept the feeling to myself, scared to give it any power by speaking it aloud. But along with this, I also felt peaceful about her death. If she did die, it would be okay. I know she will die happy whenever her body decides it is the end, and that she knows how much she is loved. What a wonderful thing to know is true.
Event 4: I had a dream that same night about a tsunami. I had looked out at the ocean and realised what was coming. I was with my team at the time, and I ordered them to my car, thinking we’d out race the wave, get away before it even hit. But for some reason, my car didn’t pick up any speed no matter how hard I pushed down the accelerator. It was faster simply to run. So we ran, waiting for the water to pull us back but it never came. Suddenly the dream changed, and I found us huddled together on rocky outcrop of a cliff. We were clinging to the rock face, waiting for a wave to sweep us off, but again, nothing happened. We were simply drenched by sea spray. (Later my mum tells me about a dream my Pops had a few nights before mine. He dreamt about an earthquake. And just like in my dream, as scared as we were that the worst would happen, everything was okay.)
Event 5: A day and a half after returning from visiting my parents, and one night after my tsunami dream, I walk into my boss’s office and tell her that I want to go home to be with my family. I say I love my job and the company I work for so I would like to find a way I can keep working remotely. I say I’m not in a hurry to go, that I just want to start the conversation now, so we can find a way forward that makes everyone happy.
Event 6: Immediately after this conversation, my Pops calls me to tell me that my mother is not doing so well and he might have to take her to the hospital.
Event 7: The next day I am on a plane back home, two and a half days after I’d left. I am on the exact same flight I was on a week prior. I go straight to the hospital and see my mum lying there, hooked up to a heart monitor, and we all laugh. Here we are together. This is love, this is love.
We observe the timing of all these things. It fills us with such gratitude, for all the opportunities each moment presents. Every second we are given a choice: love or fear?
Now with my mother released from hospital and me at home with my parents, cooking and cleaning for them, as well as continuing to work for my employer from afar, and reflecting on all the beautiful interactions we’ve had with doctors and nurses, strangers and friends over the last week, I can only bow my head, bring my hands together to my chest and say over and over again: Thank you, thank you, thank you.