I haven’t written a proper blog in a little while. I haven’t really known where to start, to be honest. The words are all there in my head but trying to untangle them and form them into coherent sentences has proved difficult. I’ve sat down to write a few times, but each time I’ll write a paragraph, get distracted by something else and end up with a mess on a page that makes no sense to myself never mind an outsider.
Mum is dying.
This isn’t news to anyone who’s read my blog before, it’s not news to anyone in my life, particularly, I mean she’s been dying for 18 months… but now she’s actually dying. Her mobility has decreased, we’ve got district nurses coming into the house, daily. The zimmer frame has been discarded at one end of the room, and the wheelchair now transports her from bed to chair and back again, when she has enough strength for us to help her move from one position to another. Words don’t come as easily to her as they once did which is strange, because Mum’s always been such an intelligent, chatty, and funny person. She still cracks jokes now, using the last of her words to make us smile.
Each time I come home, I expect to walk into her being busy in the kitchen. I expect the kitchen to smell of some kind of cooking or baking. I expect Caro Emerald to be playing as she dances while filling the dishwasher. I expect the house to be full of energy and bustle; people rushing in and out, doing things and being busy.
Instead I came home yesterday to a quieter, calmer, house. I dropped my bags off and went into the lounge to be greeted by my brother sat at the end of Mum’s bed, calmly having a chat with her as she drifted in and out of sleep. Halfway through the conversation, she fumbled for the bed controls, dropping the remote, needing my brother to retrieve it for her before she could move the bed down to take the pressure off her bones, which now protrude from her skin in places that they didn’t used to.
I spent the afternoon talking to her, sometimes with her, as she lay there semi-conscious. I found out which Christmas cake she always bakes, and found the recipe book to go with it. I asked about which one we bake for my Granddad and where the list is of who we buy presents for. Christmas is coming soon, it will be upon us before we know it, and if Mum doesn’t have the strength to carry out our traditions then I’ll have to keep them up.
Before I left I gave her a hug. Hugs are adapted now, to allow her to stay lying down. I can still feel her warmth though and know that she is still my Mum. She urges me to continue with uni and asks about my dissertation. She’s proud of all three of us and I know that she loves us unconditionally and wants what’s best for us. She’s always attacked everything in her life with all the energy she has, and in doing so has set an example for us to work hard, do our best, and strive to reach our potential every step of the way, whatever life throw at us. Whenever I was struggling with school work, she would always say ‘Aim for the stars and you might hit the chimney top, aim for the chimney top you won’t clear the roof’, so that’s what I’m continuing to do in each area of my life.
I don’t know how long Mum has left. I know that she’s tired, that she’s been battling this illness for a long time and it’s not a nice position to be in. We’re lucky because we have an amazing network of friends around us who constantly offer lifts, food, hugs, and an ear. The number of texts and messages I receive, some from people I don’t even know, is a testament to how many lives Mum has reached and how loved she is.
Mum is peaceful and pain free at the moment, and that’s all I want for now. She is loved by so many. I wish that she could recover and bustle around the kitchen again, but I’m slowly accepting that life has changed now, and the Mum who was fit and healthy has gone. In her last few days, weeks, however long it is, I just want her to be pain free, peaceful and content, if that means that we have to keep laughing and talking around her as she sleeps, then that’s what we will do.