4 years ago today my Mum passed away from bilateral pneumonia with an underlying condition of vascular dementia.
It was not an easy passing, her death was drawn out by hours. After been placed on palliative care on the 8th of April we were told that she could survive days. My sister & her husband had spent over 48 hours beside her, I’d suggested that they take a break and head home.
My Mum took a bad turn about 10 minutes after they’d left, the attending nurse told me to call my sister as they felt my mum had a matter of minutes to live.
This was like 1994 all over again, my sister had just left my Dads side and headed home, I had to race after her. We made it back just before he drew his last breath. His final words to her were “Stay Safe” back then we wondered what he meant but after Covid this has a completely different meaning.
But not this time. I called my sister and she turned her car and came back. As she entered the room her face was the picture of shock. I remember looking straight at her and saying “Susan mum is still alive” The medical staff were looking at me in disbelief and with that my Mum started breathing, very slowly and very shallow. Over the next nearly 5 hours we watched her stop breathing about ten times. Her brain was dead but her heart & lungs kept going. I had seen so many, actually too many deaths in my life but never had I witnessed anything like this.
Her central nervous system finally collapsed & she drew her last breath but as she did she firstly looked at Susan & then me. She passed with us holding her. Susan, her husband Ian and myself. We were devastated. I had to leave the room as the grief was overwhelming. When I returned about 5 minutes later the nursing staff had placed my mum in a typical death posture, fingers entwined with a pair of rosary bead’s. Unfortunately this even drilled my grief deeper I again left the room. But as I left I glacéd at my mum and on my soul she was smiling
Susan and Ian we’re both showing massive overwhelming grief & maybe for the first time in my life I couldn’t help them.
It’s taken me four years to talk about this. For someone who helps others confront grief that is unreal. Four years of pain wrapped up inside, my sister is properly crying reading this as she has also bottled it up. My Mums 90th birthday was in January and I promised myself to open up about this on her anniversary, today four years later. I had just been told I had beaten Stage 4 cancer for the second time weeks before her death. I undertook to carry out her final wishes to exactly what she wanted.
Does it ease the pain ? No
Does it ease the grief ? No.
But it helps mentally.
My Mum was not just a mother to me but my most trusted friend. A mentor who was the most empathetic person I’ve ever known. I miss her every moment of every day. I actually long to see her again, something I never thought I would feel.
After battling Stage 4 Cancer twice, been medically diagnosed as terminally ill on 3 occasions, battling Covid and multiple pneumonia attacks I’ve survived but still long to embrace my mum.
This has been an extremely difficult article to write and I’ve really struggled here. Currently I’m helping a very close friend battle cancer, someone who’s mum also had a difficult passing nearly 20 years ago.
But in grief we find strength, we battle on to survive. I have learnt the hard way that the will to live is incredible. I will see my parents again but without remorse. I will continue to help others as much as possible and for as long as possible.
Grief is unlike life, it is never ending.
So on my mums anniversary I honour all those I’ve lost, my Mum, my Dad, Anita’s Dad, my uncles, aunts, cousins, family, friends & those who have lost their battles to survive. Forever gone but never forgotten.
Rest in peace and we will meet again..
“We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
‘Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away”