A Surprise To Remember

Saint Mary’s Holy Faith Killester

She lay in the hospital bed, unresponsive, the same way she has been for the past two months. The doctors didn’t know what else they could do to try and save her from this hell she was living. I wouldn’t even call it living at this stage. I’ve tried so hard since the accident to try and wake her, bringing in new things each time I came to visit, trying to trigger some sort of movement that would lead doctors to believe that she was still in there. I knew she was there, somewhere in her mind trying to find a way out. It was almost as if they had given up any hope that she would ever wake. I couldn’t think of what I would do without her… my only daughter. I quickly snapped out of my inner thoughts and reached for my bag. With trembling fingers, I opened a letter- the very first letter she sent me from her holiday last year. I started to read it out, with a quiver in my voice. “Dear Mum and Dad,” she began. “Dia Daoibh. Conas atá sibh? Look at how much Irish I’ve learned already! I’m having such a wonderful time at the Gaeltacht. I’ve only been here for a few days and yet we have already done so much! The journey down to Mayo was long and dreary, in my opinion, so I was relieved when we arrived. As soon as I got off the bus the cold air hit my face and we headed towards our house. All the activities started the next day- canoeing, surfing and even bog-hopping! My favourite was definitely the bog-hopping even though my clothes will never see the light of day again! The food here is okay I guess but I long for your home-cooked meals!” I paused… I thought of all the times we sat at the kitchen table eating dinner and talking about her day in school. Oh, how I missed the sound of her voice and all the funny stories she told. I looked back down at the letter and continued to read. “I can’t believe you won’t tell me your important news. I don’t think I can last another two weeks not knowing. I can’t imagine what it might be! Please put me out of my misery in your next letter. Slán go fóill, Niamh.” As I folded the letter, I realised that I never got to tell her the good news. From behind me, I heard the door unlock and swing open. Soon the room was filled with the sound of the baby crying and my husband apologising that he couldn’t settle him.

I turned to Niamh lying in the bed. “Your lifelong wish of becoming a big sister finally came true,” I said. “You have a new baby brother.” Suddenly I felt her foot twitch next to me and I saw her eyes shine.

I jumped up in delight… our family was whole once more.