It had a couple of highs, but overall, it was an incredibly tough year. It would be fair to say, one of the toughest, I have endured. What could make it so tough?
My loving and beautiful Mum, was diagnosed with, aggressive stomach cancer.
We were told the tragic news, she had very little time to live. I felt such immense sadness. It was devastating! Why my beautiful Mum? My beautiful Mum, who I would ring every day for a chat. We were able to talk for ages and we would talk about everything and nothing. We would solve all the problems in the world. Discuss what we saw or would happen next on Emmerdale, a television programme at lunch time we both enjoyed. We both found it frustrating if people would phone us and interrupt that very important half an hour of TV. I could tell Mum about my daughter’s successes. I could share the challenges, I had, and she always had an answer, or would find the answer, for my cooking and cleaning questions. Oh how, I loved my daily phone conversations with my Mum, usually after picking Amelia up from School.
Amelia loved her Granma and often stayed with her overnight when circumstances warranted it. They did baking together and had their own special bond. A wonderful Granma.
So dealing with the news that she had so little time was probably overshadowed by the need for action. I took charge and empowered by my Mum's request, that she wanted to be at home, we made it happen. Initially, it was just keeping her comfortable and spending time with her. That really was not a problem, as I really did want to spend time with her. In fact, I wanted to share as much time as I possibly could. Being a Celebrant meant that I had obligations to couples, I was to marry. So in fairness to my siblings and to meet my obligations, I decided to set up a roster, so that at all times, Mum would have someone with her.
After having to rush Mum into hospital at night, it wasn't long and my brother said, he didn't like the responsibility of being alone with her. I totally got where he was coming from. Our saving grace was Cath and her team at Nurse Maude. I got to the stage of looking forward to her visit to discuss medication and what to do next to make my Mum more comfortable.
Nursing a parent is a very challenging exercise. Challenging because you have to deal with all those emotions and feelings associated with your childhood and the time that you have shared. Incidentally it is because of those emotions and those memories that on reflection, made it a most rewarding experience. I was very proud of myself for having the courage to step up and allow her to be in her home, where she wanted to be.
I got everyone married, who I was scheduled to marry. The month progressed and Mum was not sleeping well and that meant I didn’t sleep well. Dr D was great and did what he could to help. Overall, I held it together and only now admit to how tough it was. (Yes well over a year later). As Mum’s ability to move deteriorated, a hospital bed was put into the lounge, again at her request. She wanted to know what was going on, around her. I slept on the couch with one ear listening to her breathing.
It was less than a month and I had that lovely nurse, Cath, asking "Do you know
what to do when she dies?"
I responded with "Hold her hand!"
"Yes and what else?"
"I don't know" – I could not think.
I was given instructions.
This particular afternoon (the day before she passed), everyone came to visit. I remember saying to Mum "This is the last time".
The last to leave was my husband and daughter. My brother headed to his room and left me to give the evening injection and make Mum comfortable for the night.
In the early hours of the morning, I knew that she was leaving me. I gave her permission to go and told her she was loved and would be missed as tears streamed down my face. I made her comfortable and held her hand.
It was a very long night and when my brother got up I told him she was leaving us. I phoned my sister and Aunty Jan (My Mums amazing twin sister) and they raced to be with Mum. My sister rang my Ashburton brother and he came.
She left us.
I miss my amazing, Mum.
Always in my thoughts.
(23.1.37 – 14.3.13)
PS: "Granma" in our family is spelt like that – we like to be different.