Nothing and everything to say really. I was in Bournemouth at a friend’s house, having done a photoshoot the day before. I notice missed calls and followed them up.
Dad told me Mum was in Bath hospital and the end was nigh. I showered and contacted my sister. Loaded the car up and headed over.
About half an hour away from Bath I checked my text messages and saw that Mum was heading back to the nursing home. My sister and father managed to convince them to allow her to head back to the nursing home, my Mother sincerely did not wish to die in a hospital.
I somehow got their first and I know this, may sound bizarre, I wanted to take some photographs of her room. This was going to be the last place that she drew breath, it needed to be remembered.
I feel that in many ways that room was more homely than her house was at the end. That moon was a present from Dad, I don't remember when it arrived in our lives but have always been very fond of it.
Some of her favourite objects surrounded her and pictures of her children on their graduation days looked down at her. The box frame on the left is her corsage from my brothers wedding.
A bit later on, I saw Mum being wheeled in on the bed and lurked in the lounge while the nurses and care staff transferred her back to her bed. A brief family conference before we headed in to see her.
Without meaning to sound brutal or callous, it was clear that her time was drawing to a close. Her breathing was rapid and shallow, there was no response to stimulus.
I left to have some breakfast and my sister and father, who had been up all night left to get some rest.
While I was waiting for my food to arrive (at the pub round the corner) my sister called to let me know that Mum had slipped away.
It feels like, she was waiting for that quiet moment of peace. Perhaps I am needlessly romanticising and that’s just the moment her heart stopped and her brain shut down. Although, in all honesty, I feel that she was probably holding on until she was alone, before she passed.
I finished my breakfast/tea and headed on back to the nursing home. Just a short walk. My sister was on the phone making important calls to people to let them know. Dad was outside smoking.
I went into see her. Knocked on the door. Yeah, I know….
Anyway, she was laid there, the care staff had tidied the room around her and placed a flower on her chest. I had a few words…as you do I suppose. Kissed her upon the forehead. It was the strangest feeling, knowing that she couldn’t feel what I was doing. There was that momentary flash of fear that she might, well open her eyes and scream or something. I know that is ridiculous but her near death has been a recurring theme throughout my life.
Obviously, she didn’t stir. I took a heart shaped brooch I made in 2009 as an anniversary present for her (Dad has matching cufflinks) and placed it next to the flower. It was very odd walking away from her for the last time. I will not see her again. I presume her casket will have a closed lid.
For the first time in so long, my mother was peaceful.
I will miss her company and comfort and wisdom. She also had a wicked sense of humour.
But, I would gladly trade every shred of happiness she offered me for her peace and safety. Her body will never hurt and her mind will never be stressed ever again.
I am a grown man and I will be absolutely fine and capable and strong even without my Mother’s presence.
As much as I will miss her.
She showed me how to be a person and I will continue to live honestly, expressively and joyously in her honour.
Lynn Joy Pursey 1948 - 2011
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