Almost exactly a week since the phone rang with dad breaking the news about my mum, it rang again this morning. Since leaving Mum last night we could see she was in a bad way, and I'd said my goodbyes then - strongly suspecting I wouldn't see her alive again.
After the promising update of yesterday she'd taken a turn for the worse. She was still refusing to wear the oxygen mask, and nobody could force her to do so - it was ultimately her choice after all. We'd chatted for a little while last night, but it's clear that her mind wasn't working properly. There were occasional glimpses of my mum, but mostly masked behind the frightened facade of a confused little old tired woman who had given up the exhausting fight. She asked me to switch the kitchen lights off as nobody was in there, and also asked me what time Dad would be back from work. She'd also asked why somebody had put a tomato into her respirator.
Tara and I talked at some length when we got back home. I admitted that if I could have pushed a button to end mums life there and then, I would have. It hurt me to see her suffering in such a way - She hated the mask and with hindsight it was a cruel thing to revive her after the initial incident of last week. Albeit if anything it was a small blessing that we got to spend some time with her before she went; not everybody gets that luxury with their loved ones, and for that we consider ourselves blessed.
In the end it was her own decision, and one that dad and I didn't have to make on her behalf. She didn't want the mask, and that was all that was keeping her alive. She didn't want to spend what little remained of her life attached to machines and wanted to remain independent and stubborn to the end. In Dads words, "She'd had enough."
She died before we got there. I went in to say my goodbyes and held her hand which was still warm and kissed her on the cheek. It's a cliche, but she looked like she was sleeping and would open her eyes at any second and moan that my hands were cold, or complain that I shouldn't fuss and should have been at work.
Again, typing these words helps. So many of you have expressed concern or simply passed on your best wishes, and this is the easiest way to convey what has happened.
Tara has been brilliant through all of this. Dad and I would have gone to pieces without her, and she's been an absolute rock. Dad and I have each other and will stay strong for each others sake.
Rest in peace, mum. If there is an God up there, she's bothering him at the moment asking Him where he keeps the Dyson.
R.I.P. Irene Court 1938-2010