Glenda Wairau

My son’s mum died. I suppose, it was inevitable. 80% mortality rate for a two year period from the condition that followed her heart attack, which was almost exactly two years ago, and yet, with everything that’s been happening with me, I never paid attention to the dates.

And now she’s gone.

Our last interaction was far from friendly, I was at pretty much the lowest point I’ve ever been at, Xmas day, alone, and hugely aware of what I’d given up in my choosing to divorce Esther. Glenda chose to press my buttons and I bit, where normally I’d’ve laughed. She apologised and said she meant no harm, but I was fragile. I snapped. And now, that will remain our last communication which only one of us has to live with.

So what can I say? Over the years we’ve laughed, argued, been lovers, shared a house for a while, been friends for close on half of my life, sung karaoke together, agreed, disagreed, and had each other’s back. We trusted each other with each other. I let off steam to her about my life in Holland, and she fed me essays to proof read for her nursing exams. I know more about renal failure than any man not wearing a white coat should!

And now she’s gone.

I recall, when I left Australia in March 2002, long before we knew she was pregnant, we said goodbye. We knew our time was finite because of my visa, and so we were careful to try not to get too attached… and yet, her words were, “It feels like I’m losing an arm.” Ironically a few months later I found out that because of me, in fact, there were two more growing inside her.

Since then, we’ve had our ups and downs. The postnatal depression and the Graves disease saw fit to assault her and as a knock-on effect, me, by scuppering my return to Oz to be Dad and see if we’d work as a couple. She carried that with her for the rest of her days but in truth there should have been nothing there to carry. She was not responsible for her actions, and thus it would be stupid of me to blame her for them. She’s supported me in my marriage, and my divorce, and I her, concerning her move back to NZ and the life being lived there with Jack. We’d drift for a month or two and then get close again. Distance and time zones are not conducive to a great relationship but we both made the effort to touch base as and when we could.

After her heart attack two years ago, this became more so. Suddenly her mortality hit her and with it, the realisation of what might happen were she suddenly not there anymore. We talked more, not always agreeing and at some points we drove each other apoplectic with our mutual stubbornness, but I guess it was because what we believed in, we did so passionately. And then she’d laugh at me because… in matters with Jack.. she knew she had the last word anyway, and there was nothing I could do. It wasn’t malicious, more playful but still bloody infuriating!

Playful but bloody infuriating! Yes, that sounds about right! Said with affection and a smile, because to elicit that reaction from me… means I cared!

And now she’s gone.

And my world will forever be a darker place without her in it.



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