I usually do when I’m in Kogarah, we spent so much time there together (and I spent so much time there visiting you in hospital!). I still find myself glancing over to Gloria Jeans to see if you’re sitting in the sun, or at the ramp entrance to the train station, in case you’re on your way out. Funny isn’t it? You’ve been gone so very many months now, but it’s a habit I’m having trouble breaking.
Other things have been easier to let go. I’ve become used to the fact that you don’t call me every night at 7pm anymore. We laugh when we have corned beef, remembering how many of them you won for us at the meat raffles at the RSL over the years and I actually threw out a pile of your old paperwork on the weekend, although I can’t bring myself to toss your little address book, I’m still carrying that around in my bag.
Today I sat outside the dentist waiting for my appointment and watched a family walk down from the hospital together, slowly, as if they were filling in time. An extended family I think – some aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews perhaps, walking and talking together in that state I remember well – brought together by illness and stress, but nonetheless half happy to have the opportunity to spend time together. I heard them talking to each other about someone’s xrays, test results, prognosis, what the doctor had said, whether they had enough time to get coffee, had anyone phoned Uncle Bill?
It was so familiar I had to have a smile to myself. And I thought of you.