Monday, 13 February 2012
On Saturday 11 February 2012 Fella’s mother, Laura, passed away. Her liver cancer progressed more speedily than anyone anticipated and a couple of weeks ago she began to deteriorate rapidly.
Realising she might become frail, but not anticipating that she would pass on so soon, Fella’s father encouraged both him and his brother to make a visit to see her.For myself, pressures of college work made me say unless things were truly dire I would not be visiting that weekend, but of course I would support Fella in whatever he chose to do.
The week progressed and, yes, things began to look pretty dire. Fella went up on the Friday afternoon, and I drove up on the Saturday, arriving at midday.By co-incidence the palliative care nurse was leaving, and the rest of the family had gone out to do some shopping, and possibly to clear their heads. However Fella was there, and together we sat with Laura while she rested.
I was quite shocked when I saw her. I had anticipated her being her; just asleep. Instead she was clearly very frail and poorly. Almost literally a shadow of her former self.I do not know if she was conscious or not. Her eyes were partly open and her mouth moved a little but there was no sound. She was cold and she did not move at all.
The comment that all of us made, being with at that time, was THAT wasn’t her. That was not the woman of bottomless heart, limitless intellect and rapier wit who worked tirelessly to keep her family together and welcomed me despite her deeply held religious views.However, it was her body, slowly slipping away, and within an hour of my arrival, with the family around her, she had passed away, a transition so peaceful we really couldn’t be sure exactly when it happened.
It was, thank God, peaceful and relatively comfortable. I am grateful for that.She passed away so unexpectedly that there had been no arrangements made; no funeral home, no thought of bank accounts, emails, and the minutiae and details of loose ends and things to tie up.
The hardest thing for them all was the sympathy. People so often seemed to want the family to comfort THEM. Fella’s father found that the most difficult thing. Fella dealt with most of Laura’s side of the family, persuading people to cancel the visits they had been planning as there was now no point. Not until the funeral…That will be in a week, perhaps two. Fella will help with the arrangements; particularly as he and Laura were so very close.
He’s taken it very hard, has Fella. They really were close… for me, I’m just trying to keep him active, keep him doing things, so that he has a chance to get over this tragedy without getting overwhelmed by it. Certainly today he was incredibly down. This will be a huge challenge for us both to get other and it will take time.