My mother is very near to her end now, her breathing slow and she refuses water and food. Her thyroid, devoid of medication constricts her throat and she lies on her side, shielding herself from residual pain from the hip operation though I am sure it was just patched up at her age. Her body is no longer supporting her weight so she sinks into the sheets, clutching a pillow with curled fingers.
Once her hair was fair and the colour of summer wheat. But is now white grey and for once she allows anyone to brush it straight. She is travelling fast without fear, gasping with her last ounce of energy, daring the world to stop her falling deep into a journey that only she will experience, alone and tumbling into a bright light and hands that will sooth her landing.
As a young woman, she loved so many, experienced touch and sensuality on ships taking her to Valparaiso and then to Alexandria, befriended servants in Nigeria, took a train across occupied France in 1940 clutching her brother’s trembling hand. He is now waiting for her.
Her last sensation to go at this stage will be hearing so we have all sat close, not looking directly at her shrunken face out of respect but saying our good bye and asking for forgiveness, telling her that we love her so much, and yes she is very beautiful and how much we will miss her, and how long time is till we are together again. Somehow ABBA seems rather inappropriate but we have that on low, so that she can remember Skorpios Night Club in Nicosia, bouncing around, smoking 555s and drinking brandy sour.
She has allowed me to have a parent well beyond a sell-by date and yes, she has been silly, reckless, emotional, cold and hot but always wished for romance in life and the company of dachshunds on the sofa during Wimbledon week.
She once told me that at school she only learnt to play tennis and bridge and get out of a sport’s car without being too indiscreet. Frankly that seems enough and because she always had a cook meant that I never starved.
Mummy, I will miss you and you have left us at the right time, I can’t see you anymore but you are and always will be in my heart.
Thank you for the gift of life.