This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
The latest development is that she has an infection in her right side which is bright red with a lot of hot fluid accumulating under the skin, and I wonder how much more can one woman endure? BUT she still smiles at me when she wakes up, thanks the nurses every time they do anything for her and has a chuckle when I say she is a “tough old bird”. It is going to take a lot for her to let go.
She is past talking, just the odd word now and then, and she is past pain so she is peaceful and calm. The agitation she was suffering last week seems to have gone completely and I feel that we are about to see her plane taxi down the runway. Everyone who wanted to, has been to say their goodbyes and those that haven’t it is because they want to remember her as she was – the vibrant, feisty, strong, fun, fiercely independent, mischievous and caring person.
A friend, who has recently lost her mother, said to me you can never be prepared for the loss of your mother and I am beginning to understand what she means. I suppose we all, to a certain extent, take our mothers for granted as they have always been there, through thick and thin. Did she get the life she deserved? I doubt it as I know it was peppered with sadness and disappointments, probably many provided by her own children. She lived through WWII separated from her parents and younger sister who were in Singapore. Her father was a serving officer in the Middle and Far East so she was sent to boarding school in Bath, which was evacuated to Longleat House. However when the air raids began her parents organised for her to go to America. She returned when she was 17 years old, a harrowing journey by boat and plane, via Portugal to do her bit for the war movement by serving with the Red Cross. Marriage, babies, financial hardship, a house fire where we lost everything, an alcoholic husband who she stuck by when many of us thought she shouldn’t and finally a lonely end of life. Religion was a major part of her life and a real crux during the bad times – something that all of us found hard to understand, perhaps because we felt if there was a God he hadn’t looked after her too well!
Whatever happened on earth I can only hope and pray that she gets a better hand dealt to her wherever she is going. When her priest last visited he said she was going to have no problem as her religious ‘loyalty card’ was well stamped and up-to-date!
Her legacy is her 4 children, 12 grandchildren and 1 great-grandson, so far. She will be remembered and desperately missed by me. I have watched her slowly deteriorate, losing her memory and freedom to dementia, her body to cancer, her dignity as she became bedridden and now I await her final loss, of life. I will wave the flight off with a heavy heart but knowing that she is going to a happier place, one where she can be herself again, pain-free and walking with all those she loves who have gone before her.