Tuesday, December 21, 2021

A Hard Call


Leo at work, way back.

There were several messages from his family. 

Leo is in hospital, he'd going into palliative care today, please call him, he's talking about you and loves you and wants to hear your voice.

Leo worked for me for many, many years when I had the house around the bay.

I wrote about him a few times.

You can read the pieces here

So I braced myself and after many attempts reached him.

And he sounded frightened and sad and mixed up. But knew me right away. He knew I would call, he told his siblings. 

He doesn't know he's dying. The lad (as we call the Big C in Ireland) is everywhere. His whole body. He knows he'll be in hospital until after Christmas. He says I've never been sick a day in my life. I never take an aspirin even. But you said the smoking would get me. Has it got me?

Remember Leo, I say, how you did such a fine job on my wood? How you took care of my wood stove? How you made me turkey soup? Remember how you took care of Ansa when I was away? Remember how we played cards? 

We were very good to each other, Leo. You were a very good friend and worker.

When I get out of here we'll see each other, won't we?

Of course, I say.

For there is nothing left to say.

I wrote this many years ago.

For Leo and all the Leos of the World

Sometimes my heart breaks, just a little bit.
And I don’t know why that is or where that comes from.
I see him mowing and chopping and planting
And stacking and reaping, picking up sticks from my lawn
Gathering the golden brown leaves of the tired summer trees
Making straight lines along the wondrous green of the grass
Like himself, for he walks so straight, like a military man.
He makes me giggle sometimes over silly stuff.
He gathers up things from the shore that I might like.
Old keys, glass bottles, multi-coloured feathers, odd bits of driftwood,
And presents them to me like the priceless gifts that they are.
He’s very clear and direct. He knows his likes and dislikes.
And announces them without apology or humility.
He knows he had a bad accident when just a lad.
That affected his brain forever and ever.
A wondrous twelve year old in the body of a fifty-eight year old.
He tells me he likes me very much
And that he loves working for me
As I treat him fair and don’t torment him like others do.
He treats my welfare like his own, fixing things,
Working things out patiently as I watch, learning his patience.
I treat his welfare like my own, feeling his hurts,
Watching out for others’ thoughtless cruelties.

I can't stop crying.


28 comments:

  1. Thank you. For your love, your care, your consideration. And for your tears.

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    1. It's hit me like a ton of bricks EC. I suppose it the loss of my old life, a really happy part of it and he made all the difference.

      XO
      WWW

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  2. So poignant.
    Thank you for continuing to care for him. I hope his end is easy

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  3. I am glad you called and spoke to him, he will take the memory of you with him when he goes. I hope he passes easily in his sleep.

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    1. I hope he does River, it was a lovely gently conversation.

      XO
      WWW

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  4. And I weep with you - such caring expressed in youur words now and back then. Beautiful, heart-filled, true. I hope your voice helped calm his fear. Kim in PA USA

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    1. Thank you Kim. I truly believe it did, he sounded less agitated when we hung up. I was on his mind he said.

      XO
      WWW

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  5. Very sad indeed. I suppose there are good reasons why you can't visit him. It is probably better for you to remember him as healthy, and it sounds like his family care.

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    1. The Plague has struck again here Andrew so high risk visiting a hospital and I'm around very young relatives the next few days. His family are a bit iffy but he has one very kind sister in law.

      XO
      WWW

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  6. Oh so sad but your caring for him made a difference in his life.

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    1. And vice versa Joared. Working for me made all the difference to him so many told me. Dignity and self-respect. And he did a great job.

      XO
      WWW

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  7. I can understand and sympathise. What else can be said under the circumstances?

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    1. Heart wrenching losses Ramana as we age. I never get used to them.

      XO
      WWW

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  8. I am so sorry, for him and for you...

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  9. My heart goes out to both of you. So painful. Hugs from me at the base of the mini-mountain in Maine.

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    1. This has really set me sideways a little Regina. But the cost of growing old is loss.

      XO
      WWW

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  10. How sad. You obviously meant a lot to each other.

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  11. So sad. I hope for a lovely last Christmas for Leo, and a painfree passing from tihs world.

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    1. Me too Charlotte with every fibre of my being.

      XO
      WWW

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  12. How we bear the unbearable is still a mystery to me. Some lives and some deaths do have unbearable qualities that we (okay speaking for myself I guess) may never be able to wrap our heads around. You, Mary, are just one big walking heart. You and Leo have been lucky to have each other. I like to believe there will be people like you in my son Emil's life after I'm gone, and it eases my anxiety to be reminded there are people like you. -Kate

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    1. What beautiful words Kate and I thank you for them. He is/was very dear to me in so many ways and we took care of each other.

      I am hoping his passing is stress free for him.

      XO
      WWW

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  13. Stubblejumpers has said it. You were lucky to find each other.
    His going first is very hard for you, the friend left behind.
    Take care. xx

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