Pō atarau

I had devastating news tonight.

Sausages sizzling on the frying pan. Fireman Sam a soundtrack to Monday night domesticity. The baby grizzling. I’d just stuck a photo on Twitter. My husband was watering the garden. It was too normal a setting for such heartbreaking news.

I tried to form the sound of my friend’s name and big fat tears fell instead. My husband pulled me into his arms.

I cried in the bathroom for a while. Trying to steel myself to go back to be with the children. When I came back upstairs dinner was ready.

I sat watching my son in the bath. Sung a tune to the baby as he fussed.

Pō atarau E Moea iho nei E haere ana koe ki pāmamao

I realise what I am singing. I hadn’t registered. And my heart hurts. Tears fall again and I try to quickly wipe them away – On a moonlight night I see you in a dream, you’re going away to a distant land…

As I dress my toddler for bed he gives me a sudden forceful hug. He wraps his tiny arms around my neck and presses his head into my chest.

“Dear mama why are you sad?”

He looks as if he may cry and I try to think of an answer to give him. But I don’t know what to say to make this better.

“Mama’s friend is very sick. I’m sad because she’s sick”

“But she can go to the doctor!”

I try to smile. It falls from my face before I can even hold it for a second.

“She has been to the doctor sweetheart. The doctors can’t fix her because she’s too sick”.

He looks confused. Doctors can fix everything. This has thrown a spanner in the works. I can see his mind ticking over.

“She has a mama and a deddy? Does she hurt?”

“I hope she doesn’t hurt my love”

“They can go and her deddy can fix it by kiss her better where it hurts”

“She will have her husband and her family with her honey…” my voice trails off. I’m not sure what to say.

I want to live in my son’s world where we can fix any broken one. Where a daddy can heal any hurt. No disease. No death. No fight for life. No hour of need. No desperate search for words that can convey the pain a family is feeling tonight to try to put into order something that’s too awful to be ordered.

C – my heart is broken for you. I have looked out at the ranges you love so much – I know you are surrounded by a love greater than those mighty mountains. May that great and precious love hold you in peace and comfort. I love you. Haere rā ka hoki mai anō ki i te tau E tangi atu nei.


6 Comments on “Pō atarau

  1. Oh my peerie love, I send across the oceans of time and tide, the largest hug the ether can carry. Know that your are held in mind and heart. Xxxx

  2. When we struggle with this as adults it is all the more a heartbreak to see our kids have to understand it. Wishing you and your friend peace and light through this hard journey.

    • Just to say also there are some notes on my blog about talking to kids about cancer (works for other things too) from a talk I attended by a child psychotherapist.