I remember, the day I felt my mothers’ life force wain as if it was yesterday. We were on holiday, staying in a Crib at Riverton. Walking back from the beach, holding our wet, sandy towels,my hand in hers. Mum stopped to catch her breath. She often did this, her neck would pulsate while the blood in her body struggled to flow. Mum had suffered rhematic fever twice and a valve in her heart was damaged. However, this time was different. My own heart skipped a beat because I knew it this was not good. For the next nine months until she died on August 5th there were many times I watched my mother fading away, I was twelve.
It was the late 50’s, not long after the war. Many familes had lost loved ones. The current way was to just carry on, that’s just how it was. After Mum was burried life for me, just carried on, school, I became and adolesent. I moved towns. It was my life but now very different.
Grief seems to hide in the cells of my body, no where to go, just waiting to be noticed.
I recently found some grief while sharing this story with a beloved friend. (We both agreed that death is best done beside those you love.) As the story came out of my mouth, tears sat in my eyes and one dropped on my face.
The story; During the last weeks of Mums’ life, she mostly lay in a big, black oak, bed. Under blankets and a beautiful pink, fawn croched cover, lined with pink satin. Mum was a craft woman, she knitted, sewed, gardened, she had made this bed cover. It was for her and Dads’ bed but on weekends we all five kids piled in as well.When Dad was there he would make up stories about birds with a big grin on his face. My young brother and me were spell bound.
Now Mum was ill, I would climb on the bed with a small ,black comb in my hand. I would snuggle close to her while I used the comb to loosen the drandruf in her thick black, greying hair.As I write I can feel the oil from her hair soothng my dry hands.
Mum would become so still I had to check to see if she was still breathing. She would almost go into a deep, peaceful, sleep. The last session of this closeness between us, she told me she was dying and would be by 1pm tomorrow and that I would be ok. I said to her “No Mummy you are not dying ” I knew she was telling me truth but I choose to hold denial for a moment.
The next morning I was sent to school and Mum to hospital alone.
Later that day my teacher told me my sister was here and wanted to talk to me.As I left the class room I looked at the big, white faced clock, on the wall above the piped heater,it was 1pm. My sister told me what I already knew.