There is a wonderful piece of writing advice often given, which is to avoid clichés.  I am going to use at least one and who knows maybe more, for in this case they perhaps best describe the events of what for me was a truly frightful time. The cliché I have in mind is that on Monday afternoon last, during three long hours of my life, time stood still.

As frequent visitors to my blog know, I had my own dice with death not that long ago and I described that in some detail at the time so I won’t repeat it here. However there is one aspect of that event which is relevant in this case. We often hear that at the moment of closeness to death, time does in a way stand still and our life flashes instantly before our eyes. It was not my experience and I have never really found that time could be halted even in a metaphorical sense. It would seem to me now however, that I was wrong.

Love is and should always be, ever present in a relationship. It should never be taken for granted, nor relied upon for one’s own salvation. It is of itself a thing of wonder and I believe can only truly be shared in the absence of selfish indulgence.  It is a hard thing to find, harder to keep and easy to diminish. Sometimes, there are those who forget, who let slip the weight of kindness and leave it all too late to remember how important our loved ones are to us. Not so me., for I wear my big old creaky heart on my sleeve and I fearlessly defend my right to tell those who matter to me, what they mean to me.

Take my darling Jo. She is indeed my sweetheart, although it may seem foolish to use such a term at my age, it is nonetheless so very true. I wake up each day blessed to have her in my life, happier for hearing her laughter, stronger for the holding of her hand. She has saved me later in life than I deserved to have been saved. I have with her help, rediscovered what a joy life can be. My darling, my love ,has suffered the pain of nearly losing me and never once faltered through my recovery. Joanna is there always, unfalteringly brave at the worst of times, and that I say she has saved me is truly an understatement.  But she is not only a fine and wonderfully strong woman; she is also the slip of a girl that I love, the dainty flutter in my heart, my flutterlfy.


On Monday last, for 3 awful hours, she was gone from me, holding on to her connection to this world by the ingenuity of science as doctors fought to keep her alive. What should have been a simple operation went very wrong, as she failed to respond in recovery and could not breathe for herself.

I left her early that morning, as they wheeled her away to the theatre with a soft kiss and an “I’ll be waiting when you get back.” I briefly tried to engage with the theatre porter, but he was a dour if not overly handsome foreign man, with no desire to talk to me. It seemed unusual, for anyone who has visited the Irish hospital system will tell you; porters never shut the feck up.  I was nervous because for all my calm, don’t worry darling, everything will be fine they can do this operation in their sleep attitude, I had not slept well the night before as I had a portentous visitor sitting on my window sill in the early morning half-light.  I was fearful that my night-time haunter had more than me on his mind.

Time standing still is an erroneous description. It doesn’t exactly explain the long drawn out feel of a single minute as you watch a hospital clock. For all my laid back attitude to most things, those who know me well, will know I do not suffer half-truths or misinformation well.  To be told that my darling, my love, was delayed in recovery was never going to be enough for me. I perhaps owe an apology to the young nurse that I badgered for clarity, for she seemed unaware of exactly what was going on. But I needed clarity. Eventually with no answers coming and the hours ticking by, my stress levels could not accept that some vague breathing difficulty explanation would suffice. I called on a dear close family friend who worked in the hospital to assist me in finding out more. I say friend but in truth I will call her family and I am forever grateful for her support.

Without hesitation, she told me she was working that day and would be across the hospital campus with me in ten minutes. Oh how those minutes dragged. I paced the corridor like a crazy person.  I could feel the tension in every fiber of my body as each second brought me nearer to a possibility that I was hugely unprepared for.  It was only when I saw that unmistakably beautiful hair, scattered across the pillow on the hospital trolley emerging from the corridor beside me, that I felt I could breathe again.

The poor anesthetist expressed her relief that they had saved her. She was under the impression that I had been fully informed which at that point I wasn’t, but it wasn’t long before she confirmed my worst fears that my gentle sweetheart had indeed struggled to return to us after her operation.


That night, I sat up awake, alone with my relief but still fearful that the worst was not past. I did not need to contemplate her near miss. My heart, dodgy as it is, never skipped a beat in the heat of battle but it did  falter as I sat in the quiet of that night knowing what might have been.

I have not been quite myself since I must admit. I am by nature such a melancholy man, I cover up my darkness with smiles and laughter as best I can, but I am running on empty a little of late. There is no finer woman, no kinder soul than my darling and the chink in my armour revealed itself to me this week. Not that I am surprised. But I guess it is more than that.

To be helpless is an uncomfortable and unfamiliar feeling for me. The last time I felt this way was when I myself lay in a hospital bed and I know that my beautiful love endured a similar struggle, as she had to sit by and wait for news of my fate. She never complained nor let on and stayed strong by my side.

We know what love means the two of us. I am not talking just of romantic love, but of the love that cradles and nurtures, the love that carries weight and lifts burdens, the love that anticipates and always sees the importance of kindness. 

How could I not be drawn low by the threat of losing such a fine thing? Love is fine indeed when it is so gently given, freely, without condition or agenda. My beautiful Joanna is in herself truly fine and I cannot help but be grateful for the happiness she has brought to my life

There are no lessons for me to learn here. I cannot say I should cherish her more, for I cherish her daily.  It has been a sobering, fearful time though, one where I have been reminded perhaps, to value the day that is in it a little more. For isn’t each day wonderful when you are loved.

My distractions are gone. I cannot write and to put this to paper has even been hard. I have no time nor interest in anything other than seeing the lovely girl I adore recovers fully, my heart, my eye, my colour, my shine, my strength, my darling…my flutterlfy…


Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
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19 thoughts on “Flutterfly…

  1. A wonderful expression and piece, so happy to be reading of the good outcome. You both are truly blessed to share such a deep and everlasting commitment and love. Wishing all the continued very best for you, Joanna, and your family together!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thinking of you as Jo recovers and your heart settles. My dad once said to me that to love is to open a wound that will never heal. It’s only through losing loved ones, or seeing them suffer in situations I cannot make better for them that I began to understand what he means. Someone else, facing loss and its far-reaching grasp, said pretty much the same thing to me today. Thoughts and prayers to you and your lovely Jo. X

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jo is lucky, whether you believe it or not. Few of us are loved so much or so openly.
    God bless you both, my friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Throughout my life, I’ve seen and heard so much strife–starting with my parents. I swore that when I paired-off it would be done and maintained with enthusiasm and would last. We’re 41 years along the road now.
    I can assure you, Patrick, apart from having each other and being as close as you are–it doesn’t fade, and it’s easy to see from your open and genuine words how badly shaken you’ve been.
    Now, as Joanna recovers, I’m pretty sure there will be a mutual sense of gratitude that you have each other, and now you’ve seen each other through a bad time.
    I’m not a religious man, but you’ll both be in my thoughts as you walk away from this … slowly, together. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. As ever, beautiful words but this time I can sense the love, gratitude and relief that are threaded throughout your post. Very moving – even had a lump in my throat! I wish Jo a speedy recovery and remember to look after yourself too!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. First, because it is most important, I hope Joanna has recovered and is doing well. Second, I know this beautiful piece like my face in the mirror. The six hours I waited for my husband Ed to get through a liver transplant (after several years of increasingly frightening “incidents”) were more like six days. I remember the surgeon coming to tell me Ed was through the operation and doing well. I remember the surgeon’s hands–the gifted fingers, long and slim, like a piano player’s.

    When time stands still, you don’t truly draw breath until it starts again. When the universe rights itself, and all is well.

    Liked by 1 person

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