In 2009, after my son had been stabbed through the brain and left for dead in a coma, I was writing daily updates for all those around the world who were sending their love and prayers for his recovery. There was one particular day that I remember very well… I could feel every single thought for him, every prayer, every ounce of love that was being sent our way…
“Yesterday was a heart aching day in many ways, but many of the hardest moments were moments of great beauty.
My son should not be there, should not be in this state. Another human being did this to him, for no reason we can understand.. Nick wasn’t even robbed, which wouldn’t make it right but would at least, give a reason to it. Yet, we are overjoyed that he is fighting back so hard. It is difficult to reconcile that hope and joy in his stubborn progress with the fact that he is still helpless, and for now at least, very much trapped and afraid.
When Alex and I went to his bedside, into his field of vision and said hello to Nick, his stomach heaved, his face contorted and he wept. He recognised us, and wept immediately. That broke my heart, and Alex’s, yet holds so much hope and love.
They had Nick sedated yesterday. They had wanted to remove the ventilator but his throat is so swollen with it they were unable to do so. One can see he desperately wants it gone. It must be so scary for him, coughing and choking on plastic. So they tried to get him to sleep, but he wouldn’t have it. They have told him he slept for weeks, maybe he is afraid to do so again. The sedation wasn’t too heavy, and they turned it off after a while. It was wonderful to see him sleep naturally once it had worn off. Wonderful to feel him peaceful, and to see him yawn.
When Nick woke later, his eyes were clear. The drain is gone and that is a lot of tubing and paraphernalia off his head for him. Alex, who is a tall, lovely, warm young man, has always loved his big brother deeply. I watched him yesterday watching over Nick, watched the joy and pain in his eyes as he held Nick’s hand and Nick clung to him with his eyes. I have never, ever seen anything more beautiful than Alex’s expression of absolute love and the communion of those two bright souls. The tenderness and compassion of the Mother looked out through my son’s eyes.
Nick has always felt that few people love him or care about him, and had wrapped the soft, caring centre in a brittle shell of self confidence. The shell has gone and the vulnerability is there for all to see. I hope he can understand now how much he is loved… so many of his friends adore him, and are true Friends. They are going to extraordinary lengths to be with him. And that is without the vast outpouring of love and compassion around the world.
I felt that yesterday. After a call from D., driving to Southampton on auto-pilot while Alex and a friend of Nick’s, slept in the car, I could feel a tingling around my shoulder blades that felt like vast wings spreading out behind me. They were borrowed wings, and I felt them spreading infinitely wide, holding between them a triangle of power, myself nothing, just the apex, the focussing point, of a vast well of love and healing. I felt like the dam with all the waters of life behind me, poured in by so many wonderful souls as a gift, and holding it ready for him, or like a regulating valve through which that power could pass, where I could ‘take the strain’ and pass it to Nick in gentler quantities so it didn’t overload him. It was an incredible feeling, and is still there. My gratitude has no words.”
That was then… this is now.
So much has happened since I wrote that update eleven years ago… Miracles happened and Nick has gone on to make a remarkable, near-miraculous, though far from full recovery and achieve wonderful things for himself and for others.
Today is the morning I finally get to speak with the oncologist and learn what the future has in store for me… and indeed, how much, or how little, future I can now hope for.
The past few weeks have been difficult and incredible… and, like the horrendous months dealing with the fallout from the attack on my son, held more love and beauty than anyone could imagine.
By phone, in person, by email, message, text, post and comment, so many people from across the world have said and done so much… in all the small and beautiful ways that make life worth living and loving.
I go to the hospital this morning. I could be going afraid and worried, but instead, I am once more wearing borrowed wings, and every strand of every feather feels filled with love.