My life changed on the 21st July 2017 when I discovered my Mum at the foot of her stairs in a heap. She had been there for the last 14 hours whilst I had been working a night shift at the local hospice holding someone’s hand whilst they were dying. I don’t believe anyone, unless they wish to, should die alone. That had been the focus of my career for the last 7 years, working at my local hospice, ensuring my patients had a quality of life and a dignified death. I was truly inspired by my mum. I know many of us look up to our mums. I really did. She was a deputy manager at a day hospice and therapy centre and worked with a team of actual angels. They are mad as badgers but have been a huge support to me over the last 18 months whilst dealing with the loss for themselves. I know how much they loved her.
She left her midwifery career to bring me up and spend time with me as a child. We had fun. So much fun, messy play, baking, decorating the house, 2 trips a day to the park if we fancied and trips to the library. Daft outfits and family holidays. I was a lucky little girl. When I went to school she did a few other jobs before doing her return to practice Nursing course when her and my pops split up. She worked her (sizeable, that’s where I get it from) knockers off to do this and support us living in a little flat. I decided that I wanted to follow in her footsteps and with all the support you could possibly imagine I embarked upon my career as a healthcare assistant on an acute medical cardiology ward. She also worked in acute medical cardiology. I left to do my training. My mum was at university at the same time as me. She never had her head out of the study book post-grad! Always writing booklets, presentations, supporting the cause, you know!!
She left the acute wards for the District, as did I soon after my first job in the prison. We developed a great going on with our meetings after work, sharing our stories of our patients and giving each other our views and opinions on each other’s caseloads, sauv blanc or G&T in hand. I loved hanging out with my mum. She was so clever and so patient! Reflection is key to a good Nursing career, that and lifelong learning. She then went on to do her cancer care degree to improve her skills in palliative patient care, an integral part of the working community. She then moved to her hospice, Rosewood to take her well earned Sisters position. She met her work family. My work family. She truly loved these people and her patients. They made her happy.
She became unwell with Sjogren’s syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus. This pissed her off but she wouldn’t show it. She really did struggle but worked as hard as she could to maintain her life and her career. We had such fun together. We shared so many common interests. We did things as a team. Gardening, the allotment, property renovation, handbag and shoe shopping. God, emptying her wardrobe was heaven and hell at the same time. We took some amazing holidays together, Italy, Greece, Spain, great food, great wine, great company. She did also drive me round the twist as I did her but it didn’t matter. We had a bond so strong, nothing could break it. But it did. She had a fucking accident and fell down the stairs. She left me to make a decision that was shit. Don’t operate. Her head injury was so catastrophic that if she did survive, she would in a vegetative state. I wanted to keep her alive forever and it’s ok because I am a nurse so would do everything to make her ok. Sadly no. She would not have wanted this. This is what one may call a perk of the job, with us both being in the end of life care, we knew because of our skills in advanced care planning, she would not have wanted this. Fuck. Or Pants as she would have said. Much more polite than me. I should learn this from her.
What am I going to do now mum? I don’t want to do the next bit without you. I love you. I need you. I wrote you a card for mothers day.
There are no words that can describe how we are feeling but I have a few for you, mum:
You are my wonderful mum, you were kind and generous with everything you had.
Your time, your support and your guidance has helped me to achieve my dreams.
You were always there to listen and offer advice when I needed it and forgive me when I was less than loveable!
Your strength has inspired me, some may call it stubbornness but we can go with strength given the circumstances!
You made me smile and laugh with your shit jokes “I do love children… but I
couldn’t eat a whole one!!” and your wonderful rebellious little nature,
you little weirdo, my little weirdo.
I want to thank you for encouraging me and having faith in me.
I felt I could do anything because of you.
I am so proud to be your daughter.
I will treasure everything you have ever done for me and always remember I am me because of you.
I will never forget what a wonderful influence you have had on my life.
I will miss you more than words can say. I love you mum.
Goodnight and God Bless mum.
You are my hero.
All my love, now and always, your Amy xxx
No matter what age you are, you always need your mum and if love could have saved her, she would have lived forever. I put this on her gravestone. She was loved by so many people. I miss her every day and am devastated she never got to share her memoirs. A loss for more than just me. Whilst I will never ever be as intelligent, kind, patient and amazing as she was, I will always keep her going in what I do. Especially if I am ever lucky enough to become a mother myself.