It happened so fast, I was in a whirlwind, a daze of not knowing what I would do without her presence. It was her time to go; she was still that funny, caring & lovable person. Sharp as a tack in mind, with a body that was failing fast due to the presence of cancer. 

She was not feeling too good one day. It felt like an upset stomach, she said. As each day came and went, she sensed something was not right. We called a doctor, who came and visited on a Saturday night. We knew, in truth, something wasn’t right. The doctor called for an ambulance to take her to the hospital.

It felt like I was dreaming.

I met with a consultant on Monday morning, who told me to take her home and make her comfortable. How long has she got? I asked. I’m sorry I can’t tell you that, he replied? In a roundabout way, he was telling me it wasn’t long.

Mom had made an impact on the hospital staff that weekend, again with her natural personality. I chatted with mum and outlined what the consultant said. I want to go to the hospice. I am not dying in my home, she said; it may be harder to sell down the line—such a selfless thing to say.

I made inroads that day with the hospice and luckily managed to get her a room. On leaving the hospital, all the staff came to say goodbye. Her parting comment was, thank you for looking after me. 

Hospital Staff admired her positivity & honesty just as we did.

Some were in tears; I was holding mine back too. Mum told them, don’t be upset, my time has come, and I am not frightened one bit. She turned to me and said, I don’t want to leave my family. 

If me going now means one child with cancer can live, then I will go happily. I will give my maker a piece of my mind, though, when I see them all the same. Our mum had such positivity even when staring death in the face.

She was on her last journey.

I knew the end was nigh, not precisely, only roughly; the woman I admired the most was about to pass away forever. It is at times like this that reflection takes over, reminiscing about the good times we had. 

The times she stuck up for us as kids when being bullied by older boys. I remember one fateful day, my brother and I ran home. Some older boys passed by and started throwing their weight around.

Out came mom, “show me where they are,” she said. “It’s them, mom over there”, I replied. She trotted over; there were four boys; she picked the biggest, pinned him against the wall. He knew she was angry from the fear on his face. She pushed her fist firmly under his chin.

If you ever lay a finger on my boys again, any of you, I will give you all a piece of my mind. We are sorry, it was a joke. Well, I don’t find it a joke, now flee the lot of you. They all ran with their tail between their legs. 

The smile of admiration from my brother and me was there to see. Our mum, our hero, had our backs. What more can a boy ask from his mum? Unconditional love and support were in abundance.

Mum Called the hospice staff angels from heaven.

Back to reality, it was our turn to show our love and support. To be there for our hero called mum in her final days at the hospice. The staff were terrific and described as angels from heaven by mum. 

“It was 24 days, and the morning after my birthday, Mum passed away”. 

I had never experienced grief over a loved one so close before. It was to be a new experience I was not looking forward to it. My brother, my son and I were thankful; between us, we spent 21 of 24 nights by her side. It was a small and humble price to pay to a woman who devoted her life to her family.

Mum had True qualities admired by many.

The qualities mum had were known far and wide. Her personality and warmth memorized every person who came in contact with her. Fifty-two years of marriage later, it was also time to say goodbye to dad, her partner in crime. 

I wanted to give our dear mum the best send-off possible, something everyone would remember. I had a eulogy to prepare, one that could showcase our mum’s memory for all who came.

I was nervous on the day; I just wanted it to be perfect, just about her. The church was packed with standing room only. Mum requested people in attendance wore no black colours, only bright colours, like in her garden. 

The church was full of laughter from my speech; we showcased mum’s hearty laugh over the speakers; it gave one lasting memory for many, that she was present in the room.

I am proud to say I did my best for the most admired woman in my life called mom. That is all she would have asked from me.