Today is the 5th Anniversary of my wonderful Mum passing away. I thought I would share my story with you all…
How life changes in a few little words…
The 8th March 2012 was a day my life changed, everything seemed to stop. This was the day we were told that my Mum had cancer. As a close family of 4 we cried, planned, prayed and hoped for 24 hours until we were told by the consultant that the cancer was terminal. How is that even possible?? My Mum……… My MUM!!!!!
By now my beloved Mum was very poorly and just wanted to be at home. Having been in hospital for around 8 weeks we were told she had Diverticulitis then Crohns disease, seeing a diet specialist……. how wrong they were!!
I’m still angry at the hospital for not finding out earlier, she been in hospital a few times between the October and March and yet it still took them so long to diagnose her!! In fact 5 years on I have so much hatred for what the hospital put us through. With all of the tests, scans and cameras they used on her how could they not see it was cancer?
5 days after we got the ‘I’m sorry it’s terminal’ we got Mum home. She had decided that she did not want to be prodded and poked by the hospitals anymore. So she would not have more tests or any treatment. It was believed that Mum had secondary bowel cancer and we had been told the primary cancer was likely to have been lung cancer. Not that Mum had any symptoms you would believe for lung cancer. No cough, no coughing up blood, no chest pains or shortness of breath.
The next couple of weeks at home we met the wonderful Macmillian team and the Nurses and Carers from the local hospice.
Mini Bucket list
We made plans as a family. A mini bucket list. Horse racing, sea-side trips, family weekends away. My cousins wedding was 6 months away. My Mum was amazingly proud of her niece and very close to her, it was one of her goals to make it to her wedding, though it was not to be…
In fact over the next couple of weeks Mum went down hill fast. We made it to the point to point horse racing. But that tired Mum out so much we were then unable to do any of the other things we had planned. It is one of the many reasons I’m still angry with the hospital. If only they had diagnosed earlier we would have been able make lots more happy family memories and completed these few things Mum wanted and lots more. Even if the outcome was to be the same.
Soon we changed the house around, setting up a hospital bed in the living room. With either my Dad, sister or me with Mum at all times. Mum wanted to be at home with us, she didn’t want to be in hospital or a hospice and we didn’t want that for her. We wanted her at home, with all of our family memories around her. My amazing Dad became her carer along with the brilliant nurses and carers from the local hospice, Macmillian Nurses, Marie Curie Nurses, and my sister and me as much as possible.
My little boy was my Mum’s pride and joy. She had cared for him while I worked, from him being 7 months old. He loved her and they had such a close bond. On Mum’s poorliest of days whenever he visited (which was as much as possible) her face would light up even when she could no longer talk.
6 weeks to the day of being told Mum had terminal cancer she passed away at home, with my Dad and sister at her side. I couldn’t be there as the Hubby was working nights so I had to be at home with my son. I took the phone call at 03:05 and just knew she had gone. My heart broke. I cannot even begin to explain how I felt getting that phone call in the middle of the night. My life just seemed to stop.
Yes she was very very poorly. Yes she was in pain and I understand she no longer had a good quality of life. No, I did not want her to suffer, but still it was my Mum. A constant in my life. An amazing inspirational lady who never asked for anything. Who did everything she could to help others, she lived for our family, my Dad, her girls and of course my little boy.
Suddenly taken away, how can that be fair? Why her? Why my Mum?
Life goes on….
I couldn’t understand how this event for our family was life changing. Yet everyone else’s life just carried on as normal, going to work, school, shopping. Yet, here we were. Lives seeming to fall apart, the person at the centre of our family gone. How could we carry on? How would my Dad cope on his own, married for 30 years, to a woman who did everything for him.
As the days passed in a blur of sorting things out. I never knew there was so much to sort out when a person dies. On the lead up to the funeral people seemed to care asking how we all are, how my Dad and Sister were doing, but this stopped shortly after the funeral. As though we would all be ok…
No. It was not ok. Yes, we all returned to work. Yes, we all tried not to break down in tears. Yes we carried on, but for me on the inside I was breaking. Trying to be the best Mummy to my 2 year old and help him understand that we could no longer see Nanny. Explain that she was now a star in Heaven.
People kept saying time is a great healer. I think this is true, we got on with life, the tears slowed down but there was an ever present empty space in our lives. Even now I still want to phone my Mum up for advice only a Mum could give. I want her to see her wonderful grandchildren grow up.
Each year we spend the 20th of April together as a family. We often talk about Mum, now with less tears but just as much emotion. Mum was taken away from us far to soon, we will always remember my wonderful Mum. I still talk to her photos now. Mum will always be with us and we will share her memory with her Grandchildren, so they know lots about her.
My Mum always said that when a Robin visits, it is a loved one coming to make sure everything is ok. I have a lovely Robin who often visits my Garden. I always think of him as my Mum coming to say hi.
Have you struggled to deal with the loss of a parent? Did you find some support? I was luckily to have my wonderful Hubby, family and friends around me, I’m not sure how I would have done it on my own.
*My Mum loved flowers and the garden, hence these beautiful images*