Tag Archives: despair

Memories Of A Life Passed – Two Years On

Mum in Hospital Feb 2011 

I’ll never forget our last words and sights of my Mum… We were leaving her house about 10pm on the 28th June 2011. We had taken some food round for her, and she had eaten a good hearty meal for a change, and had come to the door to see us off.

She stood there in her night dress, with a light dressing gown draped around her to keep her warm, her thin pale face and white hair, with brown eyes watching as we got ready to go.

I went over and gave her a light hug ( not too hard because of her chest) and told her we would see her soon, it was only three weeks and that I  loved her.

She wished us a happy holiday, and said she hoped we would have a good time. Her last words to me were ” I’m going to miss you two ” I said ” I’m going to miss you too Mum”….

How prophetic that was.

As we got to the top of the drive, I looked back and I could see her standing there, 4ft 11 inches tall, a sad , forlorn, frail old lady who was  probably worried how she was going to manage without us and probably more than a little afraid.


Two years ago today, 28th June 2011 ( it was a Tuesday), was the last time I saw or spoke to my Mum.

If you’ve read the entries from this time last year, you’ll know the reasons why, if you haven’t I’ll give you a quick resume.

My Mum who was 80, had to have open heart surgery ( risky at any age, but more so for anyone of the age ), to replace a heart valve.

Initially she made an incredible recovery -physically, though there was some evidence of memory loss, but overall she was making good progress….so much so that we arranged to go on holiday for a few weeks , before we knuckled
down to the serious business of primary carers.

I had set up all sorts of procedures so that she would have some contact with somebody every day that we were away, carers, family, etc. and it
was while we were away, that she had a fall and wasn’t discovered for possibly 36 hours.

It wasn’t that serious at first, so much so that my family didn’t even tell me that she fallen, and was in hospital as they knew I would be worried and besides, she wasn’t that ill…

Little did we know.

At some time post op, she had managed to get an infection in her chest bones, they hadn’t knitted together properly, and the infection finally
overcame her on the 14th July, just as we were about to get on a plane and get back home.

My entries from last year tell the story of that awful time, and the aftermath of her death.


I’ve had a lot of problems coping with her loss, blaming myself for going on holiday, not being there when she really really needed me, and also for not being able to say goodbye, and being able to tell her how much I really did love her, how much I was going to miss her, and all the other things I had wanted to say but just never got round to.

The first few months after her death were particularly difficult, and I spent most of them in a daze of shock, continuing with my life the routines that I had been involved in before her death, but with one massive exception

– Mum –

and crying a lot.

Tears would come at the most inopportune
times, whilst driving my car, out in the pub, sometimes just talking to friends, and for a period of time I honestly thought I was going to lose it completely and descend in to the dark black hole of depression.

Birthdays and Christmas’s were particularly difficult,  Mum used to phone up and sing Happy Birthday, something I quite liked secretly, and something I miss so so much now.

She would spend hours ( and fortunes ) picking cards for us, studying the words so that the card would convey exactly what she wanted to say,
and this became part of the Christmas or Birthday present-

Again something I miss so much.

We cleared her possessions, all her clothes, shoes, little things that were part of my Mum, then sold the house, it was like erasing her from our lives, and it hurt so much.


Now, two years later, my thoughts have come back to those dark July days and the last time I saw her, and these last few weeks have seen all the raw emotions and memories from that time resurfacing.


Kathy from Healing From The Loss Of A Parent recently posted an entry “ Living in The Present “ in which she describes her feelings and state of
life after her Mum died.

She talks of living in the past, and of how grief makes you do that, and also of how you can get stuck there. She has emotionally been through what I’m going through now, reading her posts are almost as though I had written them.

Her words and experiences, descriptions of emotions and states of mind and how she has dealt with them  have really helped me. For me, the most important part of her entry is

But true acceptance of what has happened helped me to move forward and move into the
present. I still think about my mom every day. I still miss her. But I am now living again, and living fully in the present. It’s a good place to be, and most of the time I feel at peace.


My Mum would not want me to spend the rest of my life in mourning, remember her yes, never forget certainly, but mourn her forever…. no.

She would want me to get on with my life, and enjoy it, rather than existing in a world of shadows and grief.


This has got to be my aim, my goal.

If I don’t come out of the shadows

What choice is there for me?…….

I’m going to miss you Mum.

Christmas 2003

Christmas 2003


Coping With The Aftermath


We arrived at the airport back home at approx 3.15am on the morning of Friday 15th July, tired and upset.

I had been crying all the way back on the flight, remembering Mum, her life, the sweet little things that she used to do sometimes, that I hadn’t appreciated at the time she had done them, realizing just how much I was going to miss them and trying to imagine what life was going to be like now that she was gone… and missing her so so much already.

An hour later we were at my Mum’s house where all my heroic siblings were gathered.


The house was just as mum left it that 4th July afternoon, her belongings everywhere, (she was always a bit disorganised, but she always knew where everything was) the book that she had been reading just before her fall still open on her bed, clothes in the washing basket, slippers by the side of her bed, just waiting for her to slip her little feet back into.

Downstairs, there were cups in the sink, dishes in the dishwasher, the Dyson out ready to vacuum something up, papers had been left open,  her clogs in the hallway neatly lined up…. the house even smelt of her perfume.

Everything was just as normal, just as it had been, and always was, waiting for her to come back and resume where she had left off.

Only that was never going to happen again.

Mum was gone.

80 years of memories, experiences, of happy times and sad times, gone like snow in the sunshine.


We all sat around talking, remembering, laughing and crying at the same time, until it got light.

We all needed some sleep, though that was easier said that done and we dozed off in the chairs in my Mum’s front room.

No one wanted to sleep in Mum’s bed.

We all secretly wanted to believe it was just a bad dream, and that if any of us slept in Mum’s bed and she caught us, she would go mental,

Mum’s bed, was MUM’S bed.



After a few hours of what could loosely be described as sleep, We all went to the hospital to try and get the death certificate sorted out ,make arrangements for Mum’s funeral and to engage a solicitor to instruct Mum’s will.


When we arrived at the hospital, a very nice doctor (who my siblings had been having dealings with from the last few days) took us in to a side room, had a long chat with us about Mum, why her condition had deteriorated so rapidly, and gave us a run down of her treatment over her last two days.

I was so tired I could hardly concentrate… everything was a blur.


I kept thinking of Mum and her last few months, shuffling around the house, trying to do her best, wondering why she wasn’t feeling or getting any better, whilst within her there was an infection that was growing and growing.


I though of the last 18 months that we had together, her first serious “ fall “ – slip – in December 2009, and her diagnosis in early 2010 that she needed a heart valve replacement.

Of the appointments that we went to, the pre op  tests, the intervening months when it was obvious to us, but not the medical profession that Mum’s condition was rapidly worsening.

Of Christmas 2010 when she was so ill she hardly attended the proceedings (we had Christmas dinner at Mum’s that year) because she was too tired and unwell, and of her increasing fatigue and memory problems as her valve problems grew worse.

Of the chats that we had together, her concerns and fears and her hopes and wishes for a healthier and fitter life.

One thing she was adamant on though, was that there was no way she was going to live as long as her mum whatever happened… words of prophesy.

My Family


I thought of her pottering around when she got eventually got home, finding it increasingly more difficult to manage in the house, even  with our  and outside help, and I thought of the last time I saw her, her wide brown eyes looking up at me as she said goodbye.

It was so sad, and such a shame.


Talking to the doctor did help a bit. It helped me understand or start to, the reason why she had gone from a frail but feisty old lady who had a fall, to one that was dying from an incurable infection, in such a short time.

He also stated that because it was believed that the infection was caught as a result of her heart operation, the coroner wanted a FULL INQUEST, which could be months away.

This was a blow, and meant postponing the funeral for a few weeks until we got an interim death certificate from the coroner (a week later).


Then came my last view of Mum.


The doctor asked if we wanted to see her.. All my siblings had been there all week, and didn’t need to, where as I did.. I HAD to see her just one last time, so they brought her up from the mortuary and placed her in the chapel of rest and ushered me in.

Poor old Mum…She lay there on the bed, cold as ice, but still Mum.

She smelt the same, she felt the same –her skin felt so soft, like silk, she always had a good complexion – she looked the same, though weirdly she looked as though she had put some weight on, her eyes were ¾ closed and she looked like she was just asleep… not dead.

For a moment I just stood there looking at her, willing her to wake up, but I knew in my heart that wasn’t going to happen

I took her hand in mine, and held it gently, and told her all the things that I had wanted to before she died.

I told her I loved her and I was going to miss her so much that it hurt.

That I didn’t know how I was going to cope without her and of how sorry I was that we hadn’t got back in time.

I told her that she once said that we didn’t love her for who she was, but only for what she was, and that I hoped that the events over the last two weeks had shown her just how much we DID love her…

I spoke for quite a few minutes, and then had to stop. I knew she couldn’t hear me, it was far too late.  I just couldn’t speak any more, the flood of grief and sorrow was overwhelming.

I said my goodbyes, kissed her on each cheek, on her forehead, and finally on her lips and left her lying there, at peace, my last sight of my poor old Mum.

“I’m going to miss you two” her last words to us

“I’m going to miss you too mum”…..


Before we left the hospital, I asked for a lock of Mum’s hair. They actually gave me two, and one is kept in a china ornament by the side of my bed. The other is in a multi windowed locket on a chain around my neck,  just long enough for the locket to rest above my heart.This gives me great comfort, and I feel like she is with me when I wear it.  

We then proceeded  to the undertakers to get things started, a traumatic process in itself.

This is where it starts to get a bit complicated….


My Dad died in 1981- July 12th to be precise.

We had a funeral, and a cremation, but Dad was never buried.

Mum kept his ashes in her bedroom, and at hard times would hold the container that they were in, for comfort.


When my Gran ( Mum’s mum ) died in 2006,  again we had a funeral and cremation ( this time though , the ashes were put in  to a casket ) and kept in her room at my mums house.

It was always her wish that the when she died, all 3 would be put in to the same grave, so that they could be together for eternity – This actually is a separate discussion which I might well cover at a later date – so in effect we were burying three people which brought three times the hurt too, long buried emotions bubbling to the surface again


Later that evening, we all went our separate ways back to our lives again.

Lives that were inconceivably different now.


Everyone had gone, there was just me and my wife left in the house. It was quiet, the only sound was the hum of the refrigerator in the dining room ,a room that held a lifetime of memories.

Everywhere we looked Mum was still there.

Her shoes lying forlornly in the hallway,  her dressing gowns hanging from the door in her room, a nightdress neatly folded on her bed, , her pillow, still with the shape of her head visible from 2 weeks before, everything waiting for her return.

Mum was there, but she wasn’t… and never was going to be again…..

All of a sudden the emotions became too much and we had to go.


There would be plenty more times I would be in the place.

It had to be cleared, all her possessions disposed of, either to the family, or to charity shops, and in all those times that I was there, until it was empty completely and sold,  the house never lost the essecence of Mum and kept the feeling that Mum was only temporarily gone and would return one day.




The next two weeks were a haze. I shut down completely.

All I could think about was poor old Mum, that she was gone, and how much I was going to miss her.

I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t go out..I couldn’t stop crying.

Everything I did or thought of reminded me of Mum, I couldn’t think of anything else, but there was one thing that helped blot out the pain of life right then…

My old friend Jack Daniels. I drank 4 litres in 5 days… It  just seemed the right thing to do, it dulled everything, made the heart ache more bearable.


Slowly I started to come round ( the jack ran out for a start, and I was banned from buying any more) and I began to take more of an interest what was happening around me, the funeral arrangements, designing and printing mums order of service, and life in general.


It has taken a long time for me to be able to think about Mum without getting distraught.

I still get upset now, and I miss her so so much, but at least when I’m asked how I’m doing, I can honestly say “I’m getting there “



My Mum


Goodbye my lovely Mum, until we meet again.

Forever is a long long time.


Mum – Happy Days





Hours to minutes – how soon is now?

And so began  the worst 24 hours of my life.


We woke up early as we had to pack, and also because I had received a message from home.


14/07/2011 06:59

mum had stable night, heart rate up to 70-80, responding a bit when you talk to her, still in pain so had more pain relief. Doesn’t mean she’s out of the woods tho

14/07/2011 07:02

Thanks Al, that sounds quite good. I’ll take no news as good news. Have you managed to get any sleep yet ? X

14/07/2011 07:04

We bogged off to a hotel last night and got a good 6 hours. We were not functioning at all yesterday.

14/07/2011 07:08

Thats good news too, also that mum was well enough to be left 🙂 are the doctors giving her a better chance now or is it still the same outlook but just with a longer time span? X

14/07/2011 07:10

We left because we could no longer function and they told us to go sleep. Not seen doctor yet so don’t know the answer to your question.

14/07/2011 07:13

Ok Al, just grabbing at straws

14/07/2011 07:15

So are we. Dont read too much into my brusqueness, it’s just text language 😉

14/07/2011 07:17

;-)Okey dokey thanks for telling me. I was a bit concerned 😦


50 years ago


Again the untold story of the texts is that talking to my sister on the phone elicited the information that the doctors had said they were thinking about a chest drain ( more below) and if this was successful, then Mum  would have to have it done every 3-4 days depending on how well they cleared up the infection…


EVERY 3-4 DAYS.. that’s what they said, every 3 – 4 days….

I told you mum was a fighter, but this was close on a miracle.


I thought about the email I had sent to my boss the night before.. “ I’m going to look a proper twat – I’ve just told my boss that my mum is dying,she’s got 48 hours to live, and here we are looking at a minimum of 3- 4 days but not only that , an ongoing EVERY 3 or 4 days.

This implied more than one op, and I was ecstatic..

Hope at last!

We finished packing and went to the beach barbecue relatively happy. Happy enough to enjoy it , and not be as miserable as sin.

I had forgotten those words No positive outcome


Stiil on the beach later that afternoon, more messages,

 14/07/2011 11:38

Doctors have decided that that mum is sufficiently stable for her to have a small op later this afternoon to put a drain in her chest to get the rest of the pus out. They think benefits outweigh risks as anti-bs will never clear infection on own and should also make her more comfy.

14/07/2011 11:43

That’s got to be good news .when will they do op? Good Luck to her , fingers crossed . I’ll wait for news love to all x

14/07/2011 11:44

They dont know the time yet, but hopefully this afternoon

14/07/2011 11:47

Okey dokey Ali hugs to everyone especially mum xxx


We said our goodbyes to our friends on the beach,and went back to our room.

Showered and dressed , we were just about to go for something to eat before we went home, when a message arrived.

14/07/2011 16:01

No news re op time, may be last thing tonight or if surgeon too tired may be tomorrow. We will probably go back to mums tonight if there is no change. I would suggest you go home from flight rather than straight here and then come over in the morning.

14/07/2011 16:09

Okey Ali, we were just discussing what to do. Do you want me to come to mums first or shall I go to the q.e in the morning.? Also what ward / floor is she on? I gather she is stable now ( good) have the docs said any more about her long term prospects ( or am I grabbing at straws again ) see you tomorrow x

14/07/2011 16:12

Suggest you come here, area d of critical care, opening visiting, ring the bell and say you’re mrs lords family. Stable is neutral, neither good nor bad, a plateau from which things will either get better or worse and there’s no guide as to which as this point.

14/07/2011 16:14

Ok thanks Ali, keeping it real 😉 see you tomorrow morning x


We went to our usual restaurant, had our meal, and were just finishing when the phone rang. It was my sister.

 “ The doctors have told us that Mum is dying. All her organs have failed and she is in a coma.  She’s definitely not going to make it through the night, and you are not going to make it here before she dies.”


My whole world collapsed in front of me. I could hardly speak for crying. It hurts now to write about that night


“ Poor old Mum “ I kept saying.” Please tell her I love her, and I’m going to miss her “

“ I’ll try , but she’s not conscious and she’s in a coma. Do you want to stay where you are? “


I considered this for a few seconds.. part of going home was to see Mum before she died. That wasn’t going to happen now, so what was the point.

 My family that was the point, my brothers and sisters who had stood guard over my mums bed for 4 days, waiting for me, their older brother to come back.

I suddenly felt the need to be with them, for their comfort and mine so I told my sister we were definitely coming back on the same flight and we would see them later.

Ok she said, and started to say something else, when she interrupted herself “ We’ve got to go now, I’ll phone you back straight away.


10 minutes later I was just sending


14/07/2011 20:16

Ali please tell her I love her, I’m going to miss so much & I’m sorry I wasn’t there when she needed me 😥 love to everyone I love you,alla

When I received


14/07/2011 20:16

Shes gone x


14/07/2011 20:18

Oh my god !!!!!! 😥


That was it. The rest of the evening was a blur.

I went and sat on the beach, the sea crashing on to the sand, tears streaming from my eyes, rolling down my cheeks and dropping into the dark blue mass of the sea.

For a minute I thought about throwing myself in there too, but I pulled myself together enough to walk back up to the restaurant and announced

 “ She’s dead… Mum’s dead! “

We said our goodbyes in a river of tears, I don’t know how we got to the airport, I drove apparently but I don’t remember any of it.


72 years ago

When we got to the airport,  my wife told the rep what had happened and asked him to help us check in, which to his credit he did

We then had a nightmare of a check in, with the check in girls demanding that we open the cases up to show them what was in there

“ It’s all fucking dive stuff “ I exploded, tears rolling down my cheeks.

“ ‘I’m sorry “ she said “ I’m really sorry, I have to do this, I have to check, I’m sorry I’m sorry “

She could see what a state I was in, and to be fair it wasn’t her fault, but right then, out of all the times and all the flights I’ve taken in my life, I really didn’t need all this hassle.

We finally checked in and boarded the flight.

I had missed her by just a few hours.


If only’s were running my head then and are running through my head even now.

If only we had got an earlier plane, if only we hadn’t gone on holiday if only if only if only.


Mum was gone and my life was about to change.

Time to go home now and face the future.


4 Days

4 days of living left… less than 100 hours…

My Mum

Sunday 10th July 2011, and Mums struggle to live was intensifying.

I have been reading through her hospital notes for this time and I have to say, some of it makes for a hard read. It details her ailments upon admission, the tests they did when she came in, and as her condition deteriorated, what steps they took to treat her.

I’m not going to go into fine detail now, the contents of the report are and will remain confidential, but I will disclose that even as late as the 9th they were arranging  appointments for 4 weeks later…

4 weeks.. so if they didn’t know at the hospital, where Mum was receiving 24 hours care, just how ill she really was ( dying ),  how could we?

My  sister went to see her in hospital that day, where she noticed a dramatic improvement in Mums care ( mainly because of 2 complaint letters detailing lack of care ), but she also noticed that mums condition had worsened from the day before.

Mum had been coughing and  very breathless, and  the scar from her heart operation had become  swollen and imflamed.  She was very weak, barely conscious, and slept all the way through the afternoon and evening visiting hours.

Clearly there was a problem, Mum was getting worse, not better, and this problem was not going to go away by itself, so suspecting some kind of chest infection, the Doctor prescribed Mum some  intravenous antibiotics, and sent her for a chest x ray, the results of which would be discussed later.

It turned out she HAD got a chest infection, that this infection had got in to her chest bones and chest cavity, and that the swelling of her scar was actually her body trying to rid itself on the poison that was eating its way through the bones in her chest.

The poor old lady was really very ill indeed, though at this stage we still didn’t know that in reality Mum was in fact dying, and arrangements were made for the doctor to discuss Mums condition and future care with my brother the next morning- please note  – future care

Meanwhile we were in Kos, in the sun, enjoying  what was to be the last full day of our holiday, we had been to the beach, been on a boat ride, enjoying all the good things that a holiday gives you, but all the time thinking of Mum, and waiting for news to come through on my mobile phone… There’s an old saying that no news is good news.. not this time I’m afraid.

I thought I would share some of the texts that were exchanged at that time and over the next few days, just to give an idea of what it was like. It was about to become a rollercoaster ride of good and bad news for us, of hope and despair.

Text from my sister Sunday 10th July 2011

“Latest update to all; been in to see mum, fast asleep all visit (her not me!) as recently had morphine for pain relief (T, q for doc tomorrow is plan to treat rheumatoid so they don’t need to give morphine, C may be able to assist with additional info). Fluid build up in arms, doctor coming to review. No brace on knee (of either kind). Yesterdays letter of complaint clearly reaping dividends as mum looks much more comfy, swanky pressure relieving air mattress switched on, loads more assessment forms in folder (tho some not filled in recently) table within easy reach and staff nurse hovered all visit! Agreed she will refer mum to dietician re weight loss and build up drinks. T, over to you tomorrow to get full coherent picture of status and treatment plan when you see the consultant 😉

“Thanks, whats this letter of complaint all about? X”

“Them being shite at telling us what’s going on, not handing over info between different shifts and not paying her enough attention. All over her like a rash now!”

At the time, all the family was very concerned about this lack of  basic care for Mum, and were worried that her condition was being worsened because of this, but in hindsight, that Sunday 10th July was the beginning of the end, the defining moment when things really went down hill, and Mum started to lose her fight to live as the infections ravaged her frail frame.

It breaks my heart to think of her there, drifting in and out of consciousness, doing her utmost best to win this final battle. She had always been a fighter, and an incredibly strong willed woman, there was no way she was going to give up without a fight, even if the odds were stacked massively against her.


Getting There????

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Tears in Silence Every Night I don’t want to Argue Or have a Fight A thought,  A sound, Any kind of Trigger Can bring on Sensations I just cant Figure How to deal With Before they Consume My Emotions And … Continue reading

My Mum

Florence Jane Mary – My Mum

I originally started my blog on Msn after a lot of prodding and pressure from my peers. I had no idea what I was going to write about, or what the format was going to look like.


Shortly after I started my Gran died, and this changed the look and feel of the blog. It was an upsetting time for all of us, and it changed my relationship with my mum, in that it brought home to me the realisation that nothing was forever, my gran had gone, and that the next one would probably be my mum as she was 76, also it had the effect of making us closer.


My mum took it very hard when her mum died, she noticeably aged almost overnight, and it became obvious that she wouldn’t make 99 like her mum.

Her health began to deteriorate, her rheumatoid arthritis was causing her a lot of problems and this led to a couple of episodes in 2009 where I had to go and help her out.


The first call I had was when she had spent 36 hours on the floor at her house. Luckily the heating was on so she didn’t get cold, or suffer any injury from this “ slip” but the poor old dear was quite dehydrated. She was adamant about not seeing  the doctor or going  to the hospital.


I asked her why she had left it so long before calling me, and she told me she didn’t want to bother me, and that she had thought she would be able to get up. She had called me when she realised that she couldn’t get up on her own….

I still can’t understand what her reasoning was, why she left it so long before picking up the phone.


We installed an emergency call device after this, a remote call unit that is operated by a person in distress so that if she had another “ slip” she could activate the machine and it would automatically call me with a distress message.


She seemed to recover from this, and was fine until the 19th December, when she called me at 2.30am to let me know that she was stuck down stairs in the chair and couldn’t get up to bed…at least this time she had called me!


We had a traumatic 60 minutes which only finished when I called the ambulance & the paramedics took her to the local hospital, a place that she used to work at, but hated with a passion, where they diagnosed her with pneumonia and treated her with antibiotics – She later said I saved her life, but I’m not so sure.


Panic over she was out for Christmas, not cured, but certainly better than when she went in, though Christmas was a bit strange, she was there but not if you see what I mean, as she spent most of the time in bed.

Subsequent hospital appointments discovered that she needed major heart surgery and that it needed to be done within the month… that was March 2010.



After many more visits and let downs, with her health deteriorating, it took the intervention of the District health nurse to prevent another collapse and to finally get things moving and early February 2011 she was taken to the cardiac unit at the Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital.


They took one look at her and “ NO “ she was too frail, poor old mum, yet another setback, but they said they would look at her in a week.

And so it came to pass that on the 22nd February 2011 she had her op..

It had only taken 12 months.


It was a miracle that she made it through that, it was given 60 / 40 at the time and we were all worried sick, but her strength of spirit saw her through.

I saw her on the evening after her op, she was awake ( though not really with it) but AWAKE!!!

The next day she was eating … 24 hours earlier her chest had been wide open & now she was eating.. incredible!


She started to make brilliant progress, but there was some memory loss – she didn’t remember any of the appointments she had been to, or that she was going to have the operation “ They’ve operated on me.. I didn’t know they were going to do that” she said.

This is apparently a recognised condition, which is caused by the brain being starved of oxygen when the body is warmed up after the surgery, and can last for 6 months or longer.


She stayed in the Q.E. for 5 weeks because she was so frail, that’s a month longer than a usual stay, uncomplaining, walking around in her little steps, caring for all the other patients – she used to be a nurse- everyone loved her.

She could be so charming at times.


Then they transferred her back to the original hospital…

Trouble with a capital T.

Two days after she arrived there she was stamping her feet up and down refusing to stay, telling me she was going to check herself out, which if you are of sound mind ( which she was) then it is your right to be able to do that.

I nearly had a nervous breakdown, I was worried sick, there was no care for her at her house, no food,  nothing.


We couldn’t stay with her, we all had work commitments, but because she was creating such a fuss the hospital were saying that they were ok with her going home.

She stayed another 3 days, then I went and got her and took her home, where she promptly settled in to her favourite chair and went to sleep.


She wouldn’t accept any help, meals on wheels, carers coming in, nothing. Sweet she could be, but she had a will of iron sometimes, and she could be incredibly stubborn.

Also incredibly self reliant, as she managed to live in the house on her own

(with our help and frequent visits, running errands for her, cooking some fresh food so that she had a change of diet ) even doing some of her own housework.

But she didn’t seem to make any further improvements. She was spending a lot of her time asleep, not taking her meds, not even eating sometimes.

She was also getting mixed up with the days, every day was a Tuesday, so I started to take over the reins of her life, arranging appointments , ordering her drugs, all the minutiae that she really couldn’t be bothered with.


Eventually I managed to persuade her to get cleaners in, and as we were going away on holiday in July, also for a carer to come in during the week, half an hour a day, to check on her, give her some food, and generally check on her well being.

Three days she lasted with out us.


I was on holiday when we got the news that she had had a fall,and was in hospital. She had been there nearly a week.

She was ok, but in a bit of pain ( to be expected), but in no immediate danger, which is why I hadn’t been told, as they knew I would only worry, and I didn’t need to come home.

Two days later, I got a text message telling me to come home now….. I was on the beach in tears as I got the news that she was now VERY ILL and wasn’t likely to see 24 hours out.

There was no way I was going to get back in time, and I went into shock / denial

The rest of that day is just a blur.. my greatest fear that something would happen to her had come true and I couldn’t believe it.

I had thought that she might have a fall or something that needed a doctor, but I never ever thought there was a possibility that she would die.


She lasted another three days, fighting for her life, giving it her best shot, she always was a strong willed person, and boy she was really having a go.

She just wasn’t strong enough, she developed pneumonia again, and a chest infection, and finally her poor old battered body couldn’t take anymore and she died at 8.15 pm on Thursday 14th July with most of her children around her, people that loved and cared for her. I was still in Kos, waiting for the plane…..I wonder if she knew???


Her last words to me as we were going out of her door just over 2 weeks earlier were “ I’m going to miss you” , I told her we were going to miss her too, and that I loved her and I went back to give her another kiss.


How those words are coming back to haunt me now.


I AM missing her, everything that she was, her stubbornness, eccentricties,  sometimes rudeness, her sweetness and kindness – she was so generous- her charm, her smile, her laugh , her smell, her touch, the sound of  her voice, her memories, all these things are gone now, lost in the winds of time.


I can never get these back, all I have now is pictures, some video and my fond memories of her, the person she was.

My mum

As long as I have those, she will always live in my mind.


My lovely sweet darling Mum

Goodbye my love, sleep tight, rest in peace

Until we meet again Mum

All my love always


We had the funeral on friday, a beautiful warm sunny summers day, a full requiem mass, a beautiful service, a church full of mourners, what more could anyone want – she would have loved it if she had been there alive and kicking, it would have been
exactly how and what she wanted – then spent all sunday looking around cemeteries for a place for to lay her to rest.

I’m having a lot of trouble dealing with the loss of my mum. I’m 52, a grown man. I shouldn’t be bursting into tears at the slightest provocation. She’s always been there, all my life, we argued sometimes, but when it came to it, we were there for each
other, she knew that if she called on me I would come, as she had done in the past for me.

She once said to me after I told her we loved her ” You don’t love me for who I am, you only love me for what I am, your mother ” – that was probably true at the time, but as the years rolled by and I have got to really know her, I learnt to love her for WHO she was, ecentricities and all.

In the days after her operation I wanted to remind her of that conversation and tell her that it wasn’t because of what she was ie. our mum it was because of who she was, and that I loved her very much for being her. Sadly, like a lot of other things I never got around to it…too late now.

Now I’ve got to try to look forward past this gaping chasm of black emptiness and despair that life has become….

Honestly…… I’m not sure if I can.