Oct 22, 2012 - 6:34 am
My mum passed away aged 63 from NSCLC Stage 3 B but progressed to Stage 4 on September 14th 2012 at 3:30am. I'm coping ok. She was my only family as my dad passed away in 2007 (after years of hard drinking and basically being so violent he had to, by court order, stay away from us) and I have no brothers or sisters. She was my world, my best friend, my support - my mum.
She was taken into hospital on 3rd September 2012 with breathing difficulties and after 1 week they had identified that the cancer had spread once more and that her palliative cancer care drug Tarceva should be stopped. I was told she would have weeks and not months left. by that point my once feisty, positive, strong mother was so ill she could barely speak and was on 94% oxygen 24/7.
Battling to get her home was the next step but I managed it and on September 13th she was discharged from Hospital into my care amidst warnings that she could pass away in the ambulance, bags of drugs being thrust into my hands and what felt like garbled instructions on what to do when the inevitable happened.
I had set her bed up in the livingroom and when she got placed into her bed she couldn't speak but managed to write down with her frail and tender hand that "I love you" and "Home". She loved her home - always so warm and filled with love and laughter and I knew then that she was truly happy to be out of that sterile hospital and to be back in the room where only a few weeks prior we had sat and laugher and spoke in that way that is now such a precious memory to me.
I had the priest visit - he came twice and my mum being a devout Catholic took great solace from this even managing to bless herself at all the appropriate points. It was a (coincidently) a stormy wet night that seemed to have been orchestrated specifically for the situation my mum was in. Looking at her I can remember thinking how porcelain like she was - how beautiful...
And now here is my biggest regret - something from which I will never forgive myself for. After many hours of holding her hand, wetting her lips and thanking her for being the greatest person in my world. Thanking her for teaching me how to be a strong woman and letting her know that if I could be half the person/mum that she was then I would be very lucky indeed.
I had pulled the chair over to her bed so i could hold her hand and through the sound of the wind and rain outside I drifted off to sleep at 2:30am. I awoke at 3:30am to my mum kneeling beside me. She was dead. How she managed to get the energy to slip out of bed, how I never heard her is something I will never be able to understand or forgive myself for. She died alone and I was right there!! The only thing I ever wanted out of this inevitable nightmare was to at least be able to held her had, look into her eyes and tell her it’s ok mum, I'll be ok, you need to go - its ok to go mum. I wanted to sooth her passage into the next world and I will forever hate myself for not being able to do that.
My mum had such a hard life (lost her mum when she was 24, married an alcoholic who was extremely violent, worked hard to pass her Diploma at age 52 and strived so hard for everything she ever gained in life) and I feel that I made her exit from this world has hard as any day she endured any hardship.
So I suppose I've used this space here to document what was the most heartbreaking and horrific thing in my life so far.
Letter to my mum:
Dear Sweet Mum,
I wish I could believe that I'll see you again one day but though all this I have no idea what to believe in anymore. Life has lost its rose coloured lens and everything is just too hard looking - the warmth has gone out of the sun and without you I'm lost at sea.
I'll love you forever and more.