and John Terry cried
The last game of football I watched in the presence of my brother Kieran was United versus Chelsea in the Champions League final. He was on a hospital bed in me Mam’s front room, and I was sleeping on a mattress by his side, an he had a commode and he was few days away from a hideous painful death from aggressive lung cancer.
And I was sat in the dark with the sound down low watching the penalties; you see when someone you love is going under, something like football doesn’t really matter that much. And I was drinking like a fool but I had to keep enough petrol left in the tank to help him on and off the toilet.
I couldn’t get blasted out of me mind even though I desperately wanted to. And I’d done me ribs in, before the hospital bed had arrived he’d slept on the mattress an I’d taken the cushions off the couch and made a bed on them, and picking him direct from the floor with only me eighty-nine year old Mam’s help had done for me ribs. So I couldn’t get wasted in case I dropped him “I wunt drop you our kid if you was a million pound in ten pence’s” and I meant it.
Anyway I was sat in the dark supping a can of Stella as John Terry approached the penalty spot and Our Kid said: “Sorry Mike I need the toilet.” So I got up and I took a hold of him, even at the end he weighed more than I did. “Hold me,” I said as I got him stood up straight. His legs leaning against the iron frame of the bed. And I pulled the pyjamas bottoms down, turned him around and shuffled him backwards towards the commode. Then as he sat I heard the commentator say that John Terry had missed.
And I was glad he’d missed but I didn’t turn, I sat behind our kid, gotta give a man some privacy.
A minute later Kieran said: “Right Mike thanks,” and I pulled him up from the toilet as best I could without hurting him and I shuffled him back to his bed, and I took the bowl out of the commode to take it to empty and wash, and I looked at the telly and United had won and John Terry was crying. An right the way through it all, chemo (“chemo chemo I watched our kid grow an now he havin chemo”), bones scans, reviews, x rays, blood tests an radiography our kid hadn’t felt sorry for himself or cried or said “why me?”
Every time me or me Mam had fed him morphine, helped him on or off a toilet, wondered round Manchester looking for a chemist that was open or winced in pain he’d thanked us and apologized for putting us through it all. Even asked us for our own sakes to put him in a hospice (as if we would). And I stood with the bowl in me hand watching John Terry crying and I wanted to shout:
“STAND HERE YOU BASTARD….STAND HERE YOU MARD BASTARD…YOU WANNA KNOW WHERE TEARDROPS FALL….HERE IS WHERE THEY FALL.”
And our kid died four days later. By that time he’d had a drugs pump and a capheter fitted, so no more lifting for me or me Mam. But I still slept by his side on the mattress, and one morning about half past four I woke up.
And by then all I could do for him was wet his lips and forehead with a tissue. And as I did so I noticed the coldness and I knew he had gone. And the night before when I’d got there he was barely conscious, and when I let on, he smiled and waved, didn’t know then that he was saying goodbye. And he never was much of a footballer our Kieran but then again John Terry aint much of a man.
O This article was contained within the pages of the first ever AFL:SPG in August 2008. Another print version is in the process of being compiled for release before the end of the 2009-10 football season. If you would like more information, or to contribute please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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