Six hours before I was scheduled to fly to Australia today I cancelled my flight.

That sounds so simple.

It was a complex decision in what has been a most difficult week. There are people that support this decision and the others. I don’t have the words. I feel numb.

I booked the flight less than 48 hours ago, so sure I was going to take it that I didn’t consider insurance. I spent the last 36 hours in a frenzy of planning and list writing, bill paying, car registration, pantry stocking, Halloween shopping and possible activity planning, given the kids have half days this coming week due to school parent / teacher conferences – and making up the guest room for my Dad and his wife who are due in town tomorrow.

The time difference with Australia is crap at the moment, not that its great normally. 4pm here is 7am Australian Eastern Standard daylight savings time the earliest I can really call and find out what happened overnight. 6am here is 9pm there, almost always too late and definitely too late by 7.24am here when the kids step onto the bus to school.

Last Sunday I got a message, Mum was back in hospital. A girls weekend away at Hyams Beach, half a day in and a 2am trip to Nowra Emergency dodging Kangaroos on the drive into town by four capable ladies (including two nurses), one in tremendous pain from another blocked bowel. I’ve done that drive here with my Mum, not knowing where the hospital was, not fun.

All week I have called at 4pm and then spent the next eight hours speaking, texting and Skyping with various family members and the most important person, the star of the show, my brave and wonderful mother, taking any and all information in and processing, calculating, wondering what to do, when to pull the trigger to fly home.

Every day she sounded stronger, yet the blockage didn’t clear. The palliative care team and my aunt now all set up at another relative’s house, managed the pain (mostly) and adjusted the drugs in such a way as to assist if at all possible to clear the blockage. Don’t know if you’ve ever had a bowel blockage – I haven’t but I’ve witnessed it twice and it looks painful beyond measure and requires large amounts of serious pain relief that don’t always work. To watch someone you love suffer it is difficult beyond belief or description.

On Wednesday Mum told me she didn’t think it was going to clear, this being her third time round the block I rely on her past experience to gauge these things, I told her I would give it 24 more hours, on Thursday I booked my flight, Friday morning I called and she told me a magical thing. The first step in a bowel blockage alleviation, the passing of wind, had happened. Its not often so many people get excited about a fart.

This doesn’t mean the blockage is clearing definitely, it doesn’t mean there is a long term, or even a medium term, Mum sent an email and updated her own blog earlier this week letting  people know that her fight continues but that the bad guys are winning, it does mean there is more short term up for grabs and she will grasp it with both hands.

I will go to Australia to be with my mother, maybe it will be tomorrow, maybe the next day, maybe in three weeks time – I will be there when she needs me. Today wasn’t the day. My brother is with her, her sister and brother, her 92 year old father and a daily stream of visitors spending precious minutes with her sitting in the sun on the balcony.

Time is precious, I know that. We were able to have two months of her all to ourselves, not having to share with anyone. I didn’t take enough photos, I didn’t want to break the moments we were sharing. Regrets.

I cancelled my flight, I cancelled death for this week.


15 responses to “Cancelled

  1. Such an emotionally rich post. Our hearts swell for you, Nikki. And for your most courageous mother.

    Sending you both love and light xx

  2. Oh Nicki. No words, just big hugs from here. There are times when the expat life is a heart breaking affair, and this is one of them. Kxx

  3. Sending hugs, your mum is obviously an amazing women . x

  4. Hi Nicki,
    What a moving post. You and your mom are both courageous and amazing woman. Sending love and light.xx

  5. Oh hell Nikki. Such a brave and heartfelt post about the most awful. Separated by distance is the pits when you just want to let mum know how much you love and care. So, living on this knife edge is bad. Trusting that taking that huge trip home will be at the right time. Hugs xxxx

  6. Nikki – please could you let me have a current email address for Mom
    I copied the two blogs and circulated them around ITC people in SA, now they are asking me for an email address for her
    will never forget meeting her in SA a short while after all this started, such a wonderful lady xxx

  7. Hi Nikki, I’ve just come across your blog today, through an expat blog directory, and this was the first post I read. I feel a bit voyeuristic commenting on something so intimate, as you don’t know me, but I just wanted to say how sorry I am that you and your family are going through this. I lost my mom to cancer 19 years ago (and my father not many years later), so I can perhaps understand some of the complexity of emotion you’re now experiencing, and I’m just so sorry. Wishing you and your family healing, comfort and at least some form of emotional refuge during this difficult passage. All the best. x

    • Thank you Kristin for your message and for dropping by and reading. After seeing you tweet over the past few years and having read your blog (but never commented) it’s strange because it feels in a little way like I know you – but I don’t. How funny that you found this through an expat blog directory. I am very thankful for all the support from my IRL and online friends over this period. They all help me stay sane. Truly.

  8. Oh wow, I had no idea! I was on the expat blog to vote for a few friends of mine and happened to see your blog as I was clicking around, and then also noticed your had left comments on a couple of the blogs I’d voted on. Then when I read your post I saw more familiar names in the comment section. I know there are thousands of bloggers out there, but sometimes it can feel like a very small community, what with all the interconnections!

    Take care of yourself (and let other’s help take care of you). x

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