Sunday, October 14, 2007

Death of a Loved One

My mother died on Tuesday night after a very long illness. We were all expecting it but when it happens it is still a shock in some ways.

I was fortunate enough to spend Mum's last day with her and with Dad. She was slipping in and out of consciousness during the day but did manage to say a few things here and there. Dad and I were both sitting with her holding her hands when she passed. She had been very sick with Pulmonary Fibrosis for over 3 years, on oxygen 24/7 for 2 years and Dad has been her full time carer for just over 2 years. I will never know how he did such a wonderful and difficult job which took up all of his time in the last 12 months, he is amazing considering he is 77 years old. Mum wanted to die at home and had the community nurses in daily and she was under the care of the most remarkable Vietnamese doctor, a lady who went out of her way to look after her.

Mum had not been able to leave the house for over 12 months but she sat in her chair every day beside the picture window and was able to watch the world go by. She was a keen knitter making clothes with donatee wool for the local fire brigade to raffle off. It was only in the last week of her life that she was unable to even do that. The last little jumper she was making was almost finished. All she had left to do was knit the neck band and sew the sleeves in so, although I have not done any knitting for 15 years, I sat in her chair after she died and finished it for her.

For most of Tuesday, Mum required morphine injections every 3 hours which I was authorised by her doctor to give (I am a trained nurse though been out of the profession for 30 years) and she finally passed just before 11pm Tuesday night. It is the most difficult thing I have ever done but I am so glad that I was able to be there with her. It was a blessing really for her to go as she had suffered so much.

I spent the last 4 nights at home with Dad who is at somewhat of a loss as to what to do now but he was active in the volunteer community before Mum got really bad and he said he will go back to all his volunteer work in time. He has a strong network of friends and supporters so I know he will be alright. Mum and Dad had been best friends and married for 55 years. Mum did get to see all 4 of us children in the last few days and we promised her we would look after Dad.

I know that she is somewhere peaceful and happy and she is free of all pain now. Towards the end she said that she could see her cat Kiko. Kiko died 2 years ago and if there are cats in heaven, then that is where Mum is now.

I am continually amazed at the kindness and thoughtfullness of people at times like this. I hope anyone who reads this is happy and well and you should tell those people that you care about that you love them right now.

Goodbye Mum, I love you.