How to write this? How to put my feelings into words, express my thoughts clearly. Maybe I can’t. So let’s just stick to the facts.
I was contemplating a visit to the UK before settling in to my new life in Thailand. Knowing my mother was probably in her last year and the timing was kind of right, it had suddenly become a possibility. I know I wrote just recently that I wouldn’t go back but something, I’m not sure what, made me reconsider. A couple of hours into my first night shift, I called my cousin, Sharon, to discuss.
Sharon was fine with the idea but did warn me that my mum was very ill now and it may not be the way I wanted to remember her. The doctors at the hospital, knowing a little about my mum’s wishes, had given her a good dose of antibiotics that hadn’t helped her much, so the decision was to switch to morphine for pain reduction and for her body to fight for itself. This seemed a good solution. If she had the strength she would recover, if she didn’t, she would be comfortable.
About an hour later, Sharon messaged me saying she had been called urgently to the hospital and perhaps another hour later she sent through a message, carefully worded, “Your mum has just silently faded away. No more struggle, just peace and tranquillity.”
Sharon had passed on my love whilst mum was still breathing and held her hand until she was gone.
Of course, this outcome was not unexpected, I guess we had all been gearing ourselves up for this moment and I was strangely calm. I sat at work, contemplating, thinking, sad but not emotional. I went over memories of my mother and they all provided me with comfort. I’m grateful her end wasn’t an extended suffering, around the other dramas of the palliative care ward. Grateful she had been happy in her last few months at the care home. In fact, my sadness is countered by everything she did for me, knowing that she was proud of what her son had achieved in his life. I will continue to make her proud. I just wish I could share these things with her.
I called Amy. She had just got back from an event and had had a couple or three beers and was in a tipsy chatty mood, so I let her talk and I sat and listened and loved her words, pouring out of her and into me. I soaked up her love and thought to myself, my mum has gone but my life is still complete. I have everything. I am happy.
When Amy talked about my mum, I gently told her that she was gone and she couldn’t believe me. She burst into tears and apologised for talking all about her night and herself. I calmed her down, telling her it was just what I needed. As she continued to cry though I could feel myself starting to crack. I started pacing the office I was in and managed to stay positive. Amy insisted we go back to the UK for the funeral and I agreed, though not particularly for the funeral part but it presents us with the right opportunity to catch up with what is left of the family – something I now feel compelled to do.
I finished off my night shift and when I got home set about making new plans. As I was due to quit work in a few weeks anyway, it seemed to make sense not to bother coming back to Australia after going to the UK, instead ending up in Thailand. My son, Hayden, was also due to visit me in Adelaide the week before I was going to leave. So with a little bit of juggling and some flight changes, I’ll leave Adelaide to go to Brisbane to visit Hayden for a few days, then to Sydney, on to Thailand next, to pick up Amy to fly together to the UK.
All of this planning kept me busy and I ended up awake for around 30 hours before finally sleeping peacefully until the following morning, where I failed to get up with my alarm. No hurry now. No more work, no more night shifts.
Still calm inside, still quiet. Doubled meds, finishing off the codeines. I can’t wait to hold my little Amy in my arms again.
Goodbye mum. Thank you for everything you did for me.
Love you, always.