Monday, December 6, 2010

Gift

My neck is sore. Somehow the giant stuffed frog that I'm using as a pillow just isn't cutting it. I'm lodged between the safety rail of Dermot's bed and the foam wedge that Dermot sleeps on to keep his head elevated. I'm listening to the soft cello of Yo Yo Ma playing the Bach concerto, a slight snore from Dermot's breath and my cat purring next to me.

I received a gift tonight, I felt Dermot fall asleep. We were laying together, he was playing with my fingers, a few delicate whines later and he drifts off while holding my hands in his. My tears fall softly, tears of love and contentment. A few moments later, my cat appears on the bed and finds her spot in the crux of my side and begins to purr. She's predictable like that. I believe she smells the salt in the tears and knows where she's needed. Perhaps a servant of the man upstairs sent to comfort me.

I felt that ache in my gut today, the one that never truly goes away. The one that tells me things are different. Through the years of dealing with this ache I've tried many ways to make it go away. Therapy, running, eating, spending money, cleaning until there's nothing else to clean, baking lots and lots of cookies. All of these are temporary fixes because I know this ache will always be with me. I remember describing it to my friends a few years ago, they looked puzzled by my explanation.The only thing I can do is accept it and keep going.

Dermot has given me many gifts in his short life so far. Patience, tolerance, compassion, selflessness and a degree of love I didn't know I could possess. He gives me these gifts in his own way. When he's sick he needs me to be there for him, drop everything. When he's happy, he teaches me to find joy in tiny instances. When he's sad he proves to me that he indeed knows when I'm holding him over anyone else.

So tonight, I walked into his room to see why he was whining. He'd thrown up a bit on his pajama shirt, I proceeded to change his shirt and while I was doing it, he was smiling and purred in his own sort of way. He knows when I'm with him. I threw his pajama top in his laundry basket and climbed into bed with him. That was my gift. He knew it was me, I needed that today. I comforted him while he comforted me. And the cat, she's still sleeping with Dermot, keeping him warm.

Thanks, thanks for the gift and thanks for the cat.