There will always be the little things that will be reminders and memories can never be forgotten.
I left Doha in early May to go home to be with my Mom, I knew that I was not going to return until I had said my final goodbye. I thought I had a good 6 weeks of quality time. We had already been given almost an extra two years with Mom and we were all grateful. Christmas had been spent with family, with lots of laughs and many lasts. The last time to sit on Father Christmases lap, the last Christmas presents and dinner, the last New Year, the last family portrait, we were all aware of what was coming in the next few months. Mom had been given six months tops by the doctors by that stage. I cannot express how devastating that kind of news can be to the person receiving it, especially when you are not ready to leave this world and Mom was not ready to go, not yet. She shed a few tears at the doctors rooms, then put on a brave face for us all.
Mom fought a valiant fight, she very rarely let the pain show through. Our Skype chats would have her smiling and laughing at the children’s shenanigans, asking after them with unreserved interest and chatting on as if there were many more tomorrows to come. She had managed the operation and numerous chemo sessions with courage and dignity, just as she did everything in her life.
When I reached home, I found Mom half her size from the waist up, the cancer was spreading quickly and taking all her reserves from her, leaving a hollow cheeked skeleton behind. While below the waist the lymphoma was spreading and swelling her feet, legs and thighs to twice their size. She pursued in being upbeat and tried with all her might to be independent, choosing to sit up in bed to eat and coming through to the dining room for meals when she could. But Mom was declining by the day. I had been there for just under a week, when in the early hours of the 17th of May she fell on her way back from the bathroom. The fall was irreparably damaging for her body and she never recovered. Mom’s decline was swift from that moment, from eating with us in the dining room on the Wednesday night to being unable to walk on the Thursday, to not eating or drinking on the Friday ….
She said her goodbyes via phone and Skype, there were tears in her eyes and she knew.
She gave her soul to God and was at peace by the time she was taken from us.
Mom left us at 11:30pm on the 19th of May, we had been with her just one hour before that.
The nurse said Mom asked for her bed socks to be removed, took a deep breath in and left us…..
The Doctor’s words that night still ring in our ears: I am so happy for her, she is no longer in pain. This is the best thing that could have happened for her. Although it seems callous, her words were a source of comfort to us all. Mom had been in unbelievable pain, she had been so brave and she had to fight so many things on a daily basis. Her diabetes was an endless worry, the pain excruciating with a multitude of pain killers and morphine patches trying to ease her time with us. We had also been warned that things would get worse, her breathing which was already shallow with 30 second intervals would become 10 minute intervals, she would slowly starve her body and brain of oxygen. The swift way in which she was taken from us was a Godsend for her and for us.
She had said goodbye to us all, she had made her peace, and she was ready to go.
Les, Dad and I sat with her for over an hour trying to process that she was gone.
As we sat and watched her, Mom’s face which was wrinkled with anguish and pain eased into one of peace and serenity, a small smile curling her lips. We felt her release, even as our own tears overwhelmed us.
Now after the Wake, after being back at home for a week, after having processed the experience I am begininning to grieve, to accept, to realize our loss with mixed emotions. On one hand that Mom is no longer in pain, that it is over and on the other that I will never hold, see or speak to her again – that part is the hardest.
Mom left behind a legacy of family, love and memories; of a loving husband, daughters, grand-children, sisters, in-laws, nieces, nephews and friends; of a love for life, cooking, baking, gardening, and sewing, of a love which will never die.
Thank you to everyone who expressed their heart felt condolences and love, who shared in our grief and memories of Mom. To those who contributed to Hospice, to Ingrid & Cathy who looked after Mom with empathy and overwhelming care, we are forever endeared to you all.
And to my wonderful sisters, we spent time together in our grief, getting to know each other once again, supporting each other with kindness and love. Without you I am not sure I would have coped as well as I have. I love you all dearly!
There are always going to be the little things that remind us and let us never forget what Mother’s bring into our lives. There are never enough words to express the love and loss.