The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough
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A woman sits beside her father’s bedside as the night ticks away the final hours of his life. As she watches over her father, she relives the past week and the events that brought the family together . . . and she recalls all the weeks before that served to pull it apart.
There has never been anything normal about the lives raised in this house. It seems to her that sometimes her family is so colourful that the brightness hurts, and as they all join together in this time of impending loss she examines how they came to be the way they are and how it came to just be her, the drifter, that her father came home to die with.
But, the middle of five children, the woman has her own secrets . . . particularly the draw that pulled her back to the house when her own life looked set to crumble. And sitting through her lonely vigil, she remembers the thing she saw out in the fields all those years ago . . . the thing that they found her screaming for outside in the mud. As she peers through the familiar glass, she can’t help but hope and wonder if it will come again.
Because it’s one of those night, isn’t it dad? A special terrible night. A full night. And that’s always when it comes. If it comes at all.
Through no fault of this book I stopped reading at 11%.
In fact, I suspect the book did everything it was supposed to do. Unfortunately, for me, it did it a little too well. You see, I’m not quite as healed from watching loved ones die as I thought I might have been.
It’s been many years since I’ve sat at a bedside and tried to figure out the best way to say ‘I love you’ enough, before it’s too late; to say ‘Goodbye’ before you ever expected to have to. Yes, it’s been many years, but not enough. Never enough.
I expected, a little, to be heartbroken while reading this account. Sometimes it’s good to purge feelings through fiction and come out the other side feeling a little lighter, a little cleaner, and healthier. But I didn’t expect to be thrust back to those moments, sitting by their beds, watching them become less vibrant versions of themselves – to the point where I barely recognized the loved ones I cherish.
I didn’t expect to hurt so painfully much. It still hurts. And I realize, now, that I’m not strong enough to go back to that time. I moved on, I’m able to function, finally, so many years later, but only because I’ve locked the pain and heartbreak in a box in my heart. It lives there still, and I can’t afford to let it out so thoroughly.
I can remember them, and miss them terribly, and it hurts, but it doesn’t debilitate anymore. Going back to those moments, remembering the helplessness that I felt…it’s too much. I can’t do it. I know now that I’m still a little broken, and what I’ve read so far reminds of that. There is a hint, a small one, that there might be something more to this story, but I can’t go back to that broken me long enough to find out.