家的意义何在?用The Vampire Diaries里Rebecca的话来说:Always and forever。









Stuart Heritage: ‘This is how families work. You gain members, you lose members’



本文选自The Guardian | 取经号原创翻译

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There’s strong competition here, but I think I just experienced the loneliest moment of my life. It happened six hours ago, after my wife was wheeled into an operating theatre for an emergency caesarean.

产房里 的竞争异常激烈,我却刚 刚经历了人生最为孤独的六小时。六小时前,我的妻 子被推入手术室,进行紧急剖腹产。


caesarean /sɪ’zeəriən,sə’zeəriən,sɪˋzɛrɪən/ an operation in which a woman’s body is cut open to take a baby out剖宫产(手术)


I followed her in, just as I did when the same thing happened two years ago, but this time I found myself confronted by a wall of scrubs, all shouting at me in unison to get out of the room. Something had suddenly gone badly wrong – our baby’s heartrate took a perilous nosedive as the waters broke, and labour had come on too quickly for any pain relief to take hold – so the doctors were forced to urgently administer a general anaesthetic for my wife. This meant I couldn’t be in the room with her. “It’s an emergency,” a doctor screamed into my face by way of explanation as I was escorted out. “An emergency!”

和两年前一样,我随妻 子一起进入了手术室。但这次 一群医生拦住了我异口同声地喊我出去。当时情 况突然变得非常不妙——羊水破了后,孩子心率骤降,分娩的过程来的太快,来不及 使用任何镇痛措施——医生不 得不紧急为我妻子施行全身麻醉,这就意 味着我必须离开手术室。“情况紧急,”一名医生领着我出去,朝我大喊解释道,“非常紧急!”


nosedive  /’nəʊzdaɪv,ˋnoz͵daɪv/ a sudden very large fall in the price, value, or condition of something〔价格、价值或状况的〕急降,猛跌


It would be half an hour before anyone told me that either of them were alive; a long half hour spent in an empty, silent room, accompanied only by a relentlessly panicky mental slideshow of every conceivable worst-case scenario. I wanted to pull out my phone and tell someone what was happening, but that wouldn’t have been fair; not if I’d have had to compose a follow-up text to break some unthinkably bad news a moment later. For half an hour, I felt utterly alone. And sitting there, as scared as I can ever remember, a quiet thought formed in the smallest recess of my mind. “I want my mum.”

接下来的半小时内,我都处于“母子是否平安”的未知当中。空荡寂静的房间,漫长的半小时,陪伴我 的唯有脑海中如幻灯片般不断闪现的所有最坏的可能性,以及随 之而来的持续的恐慌。我想拨 通电话找人倾诉,但担心 过会儿坏消息来临的时候还得发短信告知对方,这么做实在是不合适。这半个小时里,我彻底 陷入了孤独之中。我坐在那,被前所 未有的恐惧包围着,脑海深 处悄悄地响起一个声音:“我想妈妈了。”


But that was never going to happen. Mum died two months ago.



Mum was born Heather Martin in April 1951 and she died Heather Heritage this June. But her nickname was always Ned, and we were never completely sure why. The official line is that it was something her dad had called her as a child, but that didn’t stop my brother Pete from concocting an elaborate theory tenuously related to sex noises. Although, to be fair to Pete, the bulk of his theories are usually somehow related to sex noises in one form or another. In this regard you can’t fault his consistency.

妈妈生于1951年4月,本名叫希瑟·马丁(Heather Martin),后随夫姓改名为希瑟·赫里蒂奇(Heather Heritage),于2017年6月去世。不知道为什么,人们总爱叫妈妈“内德”。对外的 说法是外公在妈妈小时候就是这么叫她的,但这并 不能阻止我弟弟皮特捏造复杂的理由,说是像 性爱时发出的声音。尽管公平点说,大部分 皮特的各类理论总能或多或少与性爱扯上关系。这样看来,他的理 由也就没什么好指责的了,毕竟这 是他一贯的作风。


concoct /kən’kɒkt,kənˋkɑkt/to invent a clever story, excuse, or plan, especially in order to deceive someone编造,捏造,虚构


Mum was never shy about the fact that she wanted grandchildren, so she was overjoyed when my wife announced her first pregnancy in 2014. She bought us a great big basket and filled it with the kind of practical but mundane items you tend to overlook unless you have had babies of your own. Then, when he was born, she lavished the poor kid with toys that he is only just about ready to appreciate now. She was the third member of our family to hold him. She was our fallback – the person we would turn to for help or advice or an afternoon off – and one of my son’s very best friends.

对于自 己那颗想要孙子孙女的心,妈妈从 来都是直言不讳。所以,2014年当妻 子宣布怀上第一胎时,她喜出望外,给我们 买了一个大篮子,里面装 满了各式各样普通却实用的物品,普通到 你在有自己的宝宝之前,根本瞧 都不会瞧上一眼。儿子出生后,妈妈给 他买了数不清的玩具,这些玩 具儿子到现在才开始慢慢懂得怎么去玩。妈妈是 家里第三个拥抱孩子的人,她是我们坚强的后盾——我们会 向她寻求帮助或意见,或者拜 托她抽出一下午的时间——她同时 也是儿子最好的玩伴之一。


lavish /’lævɪʃ,ˋlævɪʃ/to give someone or something a lot of love, praise, money etc慷慨地给予


When our son was about six months old, Mum was hospitalised with breathing difficulties. She was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer shortly after, and given a prognosis of six to 18 months. The rounds of chemotherapy depleted her spirit to an upsetting degree, but not even the worst waves of her sickness could prevent her from being a loving grandmother. Even paralysis, which happened this year after the cancer spread to her spine and immobilised her from the waist down, was no barrier. We would visit a few times a week, and she would invariably ply my son with sweets and invite him up on to the hospital bed installed in her dining room so they could play together. He still asks to see her all the time. Their house is still Granny’s House. Whenever we get on a bus, it is still because we are going to see Granny.

儿子六个月大的时候,妈妈因 为呼吸困难住院了,随后就 被诊断出患有肺癌晚期,预计只 有六到十八个月的生命。一轮又 一轮的化疗使她的精神状态日益衰弱,令人不安,但即使 在病得最严重的时候,妈妈对 孙子的爱意也未曾受到任何影响。今年,癌细胞 扩散至脊椎导致腰部以下瘫痪,即使如此,妈妈仍 深深爱着自己的孙子。我们每 周会去看望妈妈几次,她总会 拿出糖果和孙子分享,邀请孙 子到安装在餐厅里的病床上一起玩耍。儿子总 闹着要去看奶奶。在他看来,自己家还是奶奶家。每次我们坐公交外出,也都是 因为要去看望奶奶。


The end, when it came, was sudden. Dad called us at 6pm one Friday to tell us that Mum had taken a downward turn. By 2.30 the following morning she was gone. The three of us – Dad, Pete and I – were there when it happened. We watched her breaths turn to gasps, we watched her open her eyes for the final time, and then we watched her slip away. I miss her terribly – of course I do, she was my mum – but the real kicker is knowing that she will never get to see her grandchildren growing up.

分别在不经意中到来。在一个周五的下午6点钟,爸爸打电话过来,说妈妈 的病情急转直下。第二天早上2点30分,她永远地离开了我们。整个过程中,爸爸、皮特和 我始终陪伴在妈妈的身边。我们看 着她呼吸逐渐急促,看着她 睁眼等待最后的时刻,再看着她呼吸消散。我是如此地想念她——我当然想念她,她可是我的妈妈,但真正 叫我心痛的却是妈妈再也没有机会看着孙子长大了。


prognosis /prɒɡ’nəʊsɪs,prɒɡ’nəʊsəs,prɑgˋnosɪs/ a doctor’s opinion of how an illness or disease will develop预后,预断〔医生对 于病情如何发展的预测〕


Now there are three of them. Pete had a son on Mum’s last birthday and, even though she only knew him for a couple of months, he was still a colossal source of pride for her. But our new child will never get to meet her. She knew his name, at least, after we told her by chance the last time we saw her lucid, and luckily she approved. But she is destined to only be a photo to him; a distant figure for ever locked in the same unchanging pose, like both my grandfathers were to me. She has become a story we will have to tell him. We had better make it a good one.

现在,孙子辈的孩子有三个。皮特的 儿子出生于妈妈的最后一个生日,即使相 处的时间只有几个月,她仍为 这个孙子感到无比的骄傲。但我们 的第二个孩子却没能有机会见见自己的奶奶。不过妈 妈至少知道孩子的名字,这还是 我们在她最后偶然的一次清醒的时候告诉她的,她也欣 然同意了这个名字。但对儿子而言,奶奶最 终还是成了照片上的人——就像我 印象中的爷爷和外公:遥不可及,永远摆着一样的姿势。对他来说,奶奶是 我们口中故事里的那个人。我们必 须把这个故事讲好。


colossal /kə’lɒs ə l,kəˋlɑsḷ/ used to emphasize that something is extremely large巨大的,庞大的


More than anything, this year has taught me that life is not particularly kind to control freaks. Until I experienced parenthood, I was convinced that everything was ultimately fixable. Whatever happened in life, there was always a workaround; a helpline to ring, a favour to call in, a YouTube tutorial to sit through. Our first son put an end to that, and Mum’s death has underlined it. Sometimes you are just powerless in the face of it all. You can’t rush a bay ahead to the next developmental milestone, and you can’t stop people from dying. Things happen. Sometimes you just have to take a step back and let go. That is a hard lesson to learn, especially when it is all happening at once.

今年的 经历教会了我一些无与伦比的东西:人生并 非万事皆可掌控。在成为父母之前,我相信 所有事情最终都是可以解决的。无论发生什么,总有圆转之道:可以拨 打热线电话寻求帮助,可以叫人来帮忙,还可以借助网络。第一个 儿子的到来让我对这种认识有了改观,而母亲 的去世使我再次意识到这种想法的错误所在。有的时 候你确实无能为力。你没办 法使劲儿催促着孩子迈入下一个成长阶段,你也没 办法阻止生老病死。万事万 物皆有自己的轨迹。有时候 你能做的只有后退一步,选择放手。这很难,特别是 当所有事情在同一时刻发生的时候。


It is a lot to prepare for the start of one life – especially when you are permanently in the grip of a slightly dictatorial two-year-old who cannot believe you haven’t opened his jar of plastic dinosaurs yet – but to do it when you are also preparing for the end of another is gruelling.

迎接新 生命的诞生需要做好充分准备——尤其是 当你还被你那两岁大的、霸道地 叫嚷着你居然还没有给他打开塑料恐龙罐的孩子掌控着的时候。然而,在为生 命的诞生做准备的同时还要面临生命的逝去,这就真 的叫人筋疲力尽了。


gruelling /’ɡruː ə lɪŋ,ˋgruəlɪŋ/ very difficult and tiring非常累人的


When we became parents, my wife and I quickly developed an evening routine. We would cook dinner. We would feed our son. One of us would bathe him and put him to bed. Then we would sit on our sofa, brimming with the exhausted triumph that comes from simply getting to the end of another day, and wordlessly watch Netflix for a few hours before bed.

有了小孩后,我和妻 子很快形成了固定的“夜间活动”。我们准备好晚餐,给小孩喂了饭,其中一人带他去洗澡,哄他入睡。然后我 们就这么坐在沙发上,心中交 织着满满的疲惫与欢欣——一天终于又结束了。接下来几小时里,我们默默无言地看着Netflix,然后上床睡觉。


brim/brɪm/to have a lot of a particular thing, quality, or emotion充满〔某种事物、品质或情感〕


This year, our routine changed a little. Before switching on the TV, my wife and I would usually find ourselves engaged in an intense locker room-style pep talk. My mum was dying, her mum was dying – although that’s an altogether more complicated set-up, and one I will leave for her to write about – and we were about to thrust a new baby into the midst of all this mess.

今年,这“夜间活动”有了小小的变动。看电视前,我和妻 子会待在衣帽间里,彼此热烈地鼓舞对方。我的妈妈已病入膏肓,她的妈妈也是(这部分的故事更复杂,我会留 给她自己慢慢诉说)。就在这 乱七八糟的日子里,我们还 将迎来一个全新的生命。


“We’re doing OK,” we would tell each other. “We’re down, but we’re not out. This is too much to take, and it feels like we’re disintegrating fast, but we’re not. This is temporary. There are three of us now. We’re a team. We’ll come out of this stronger.”

“我们做的很棒。”我们告诉彼此,“我们没有被打倒。要承受 的实在是太多了,我们看 上去就要崩溃了,但事实并非如此。这只是暂时的,我们现在是三个人了,是一个团队。我们一定能熬过去,变得更加强大。”


disintegrate /dɪsˈɪntɪˌɡreɪt/ If something disintegrates, it becomes seriously weakened, and is divided or destroyed. 瓦解


All bullshit, clearly. Defiant, self-deluded bullshit designed to artificially push us along to whatever the next awful hurdle was. We were Robert De Niro, fat and sad and shouting into a mirror at the end of Raging Bull. But in the moment, it helped immeasurably.

很明显,这些都是废话,自欺欺 人地对当前的处境发起反抗,人为地 推着我们陷入下一个可怕的深渊。我们就像《愤怒的公牛》片尾里的罗伯特·德尼罗(Robert De Niro),又胖又悲哀,朝着镜子大喊发泄。但目前,这还是 起到了很大的作用。


It could be worse. It could always be worse. When parents lose a child – as mine did before I was born – it is a tragedy. When children lose a parent – as both my mum and my wife did – it is a tragedy. A grownup with his own family losing a parent; expectedly, with time to say goodbye and hold their hand at the end, represents a warped best-case scenario. But it is a crap scenario nonetheless, and one I am struggling to adjust to. I’m not much fun to be around at the moment. I’m quicker to anger, more prone to mundane stresses. Given the choice, this would be no time to bring a child into the world.

世事或 许会一如既往地变得更加糟糕。父母失去孩子——就像我 父母在我之前本应该还有个孩子的——这是场悲剧。孩子失去父母——就像我 妈妈和我妻子那样——这也一场悲剧。成家立 业的成年人失去了自己的父母——通常来 说他们是有时间道别的,能够握 着父母的手陪伴他们直到生命的最后——这大概 是不幸中的万幸,即使这 万幸着实糟糕透顶,我不得 不挣扎着去适应。此时此 刻的我是快乐绝缘体,易怒,即使细 微的压力也能叫我崩溃。如果有选择的话,我不会 在这个时候要孩子。


But this is how families work. You gain members, you lose members. People fall away, but they are replaced. And the ones who are gone aren’t really gone, not if you don’t want them to be. One of my parents is dead, but now I am a parent to two boys who rely on me absolutely. We’ll go on. We have to. One bad year doesn’t stop us from being a unit. We’re just configured differently now. It is us against the world. Me, Robyn, Herbie and the new boy.

但家就是这样,生命的诞生,生命的逝去。有的人离开了,又有新的人出现。只要你未曾忘记,那些离 开了的人就不是真正意义上的消失不见。我父母 中的一位已经不在了,但如今 我是两个男孩的父亲,他们深深地依赖着我。生活总得继续。过去一 年糟糕的经历并没有让我们的家庭瓦解,只是发 生了些许变化罢了。我、罗彬、赫比还 有新出生的这个孩子,我们一起与世界抗衡。


He is OK, by the way. He needed a couple of breaths to get him going once he came out, but he is doing great. Our new son – our beautiful, single-minded new son, equally amazed by and suspicious of everything he sees – was born into turmoil, but he’s going to be fine. We have called him Ned. I think it suits him.

对了,顺带说句,宝宝很健康。他出来 后喘了好几口气,但一切健康。我们新出生的儿子,我们漂亮单纯的儿子,为这个世界所吸引,对这个 世界充满着好奇。他出生于混乱之中,但一切安好。我们给他取名为内德,恰如其人。