I knew as soon as I opened my eyes this morning that today was a special day. I went through the motions of breakfasts, lunch boxes, hair plaiting, Melbourne clothes, but my head was somewhere else. Today was the first day of the rest of my Dad's life. This journey to Melbourne would be very different to my last.
We took a train to the city, Mum picked us up, we had coffee and beans on toast in Fitzroy with Emily and then waited.
Then it was time to pick Dad up from the hospital. It was scary and exciting. How amazing that only nine days ago he had had his heart opened up and re-plumbed and here we were about to take him home with us. How amazing that the constant fear of the disease that had killed his father, would no longer be a part of his life.
I walked into the hospital just as he was checking out. I saw him from behind and I recognised his clothes but not his shape. His pants and shirt didn't seem to fit him anymore. I remember being so careful not to hurt him when I hugged him.
The guy at the desk was asking him if he wanted him to cut off his wrist band and my Dad looked at me and said This is when I stop being a patient and start to be a person again. It felt huge walking out of that hospital with him. Carrying his bag as he navigated his first stairs, the footpath and then the car.
We brought him home. He was cold and my Mum wrapped him up in a rug. He looked skinny but he had colour in his cheeks and he was hungry. He was home. He was ours. Her husband, my Dad, her Ra.
My Mum made him lunch and me and Indi went walking.
She is obsessed with graff(iti) my girl is. Most of my next hour was spent down city alleys, looking at her back as she ooed and aahed and that's so cooled and snapped pics.
We bought coffee and sushi for the train and went back to the flat. Dad was asleep and Mum drove us to the station.
As we sat on the train about to leave he called. He was crying. He was so moved that we had come all the way to Melbourne to be with him and to celebrate his second chance at life and yet he hadn't said goodbye. I offered to get off the train but then reminded him of how much time we have ahead of us, especially when they move across the road.
All the way home I thought about the link between the physical and emotional heart. How deeply connected they are. If not the same.
So that's it. We're home. My own heart feels full and happy and relieved. Grateful doesn't seem like a big enough word this time.
Thank you so much for joining us on this journey. I'm hoping the rest of the story is really boring, textbook recovery stuff. Red wine, eggs, lots of walking, avocados, beans and so much love.
I hope you've had a great day too. xx