After Fourteen Years The Light Dawns …

Hi All

I have to apologise for my indulgent ramblings of the last two days regarding my mother and as soon as I have shared the following with you I promise I shall mention her no more.

You see, something strange – really strange – happened to me last night.

I had the urge to post a daft bit of a poem on here, about mum, and so I did. I never post at night but last night I did. I then received a comment from Elaine that made me snivel a bit and so I closed everything down and went to bed. It was then that this ‘something strange’ happened. No I didn’t find the lost bra under Richard’s pillow or anything like that. I think I need to share a bit of back story with you …

My mother kept her illness a secret and it wasn’t until she was really poorly that any of us realised that she was terribly ill. I won’t witter on, other than to say when my brother alerted me to the fact that mum was ill I rushed to see her. I am not a doctor and I am not a nurse but I know a really sick animal when I see one and my mum looked really sick. There is little difference between sick animals and sick humans.

We took her to a doctor who arranged for her to spend the night in the local hospital and to have a scan on her lungs the following morning. As I left mum in the cottage hospital I turned to look at her and she gave me a hateful look which clearly said, ‘why have you put me in here?’

That was the last look my mum ever gave to me. The phone rang at four am to say that mum had died, unexpectedly, alone. The autopsy showed lung cancer and that it had spread to other vital organs.

The shock to my father was heartbreaking to see. All he could say was, ‘She’d only gone in for tests.’

After this, dad’s health suffered. He’d had a small stroke a few weeks before mum died. He then had an aneurysm and underwent emergency surgery which saved his life but wrecked his kidneys. For eight years we looked after dad and watched him slowly deteriorate. A strong, independent, life-loving man, forced by age and life to admit defeat.

When dad died I was gutted. Utterly. Completely. Gutted. That was six years ago and I think about him everyday. But I don’t think about mum every day, in fact rarely – and this is my point. I always tell people that, although I was always closest to mum, I rarely miss her, or think about her and that it is dad that is constant. I have always considered that this is because dad was ill, in varying degrees, on and off, for eight years and that because of this I’d grown closer to him. But after last night I now know this is not true…

Back to now. Last night, as I slipped into bed, my mum was still on my mind. I switched off the light and lay in the darkness. Suddenly I started to cry. And I mean really cry. First just a trickle of tears and then the floodgates opened. This has never happened since the day she died, fourteen years ago. The whole bed shook. I shook. I think the bloody house shook! And then, some dark, thick blanket lifted, it all became crystal clear.  I had never mourned for mum because …I hadn’t forgiven her for dying.

I really don’t know what happened after that. I remember sobbing and laughing …and laughing and sobbing. But the only thoughts in my head were, ‘I never forgave you. I never forgave you. Not for keeping your illness a secret. Not for dying alone. Not for leaving me.

Today I feel closer to my mum than muscle is to bone. We are back together again.

I have forgiven her for dying and I have forgiven myself for not having forgiven her.

My point. My lesson, if there is one, is, no matter how long it takes (in my case fourteen years) if you hang on, the answer to everything will come. I have no idea why it has taken this long. And I have no idea why the answer came now, on the day that would have been her birthday.

Perhaps dad gave mum a little nudge and said, “go on, Joyce, tell her. Put her out of her misery. Don’t you think she has suffered in ignorance for long enough?”

I promise I shall be back to normal from now on. I’m not sure what normal is but if I hang on for another fourteen/fifteen years I’m sure something or someone will tell me.MB900410833

Take care my lovelies x


PS Thank you for the likes and for your comments. Your kindness amazes me  – truly.





18 thoughts on “After Fourteen Years The Light Dawns …

  1. Thanks for this heartfelt piece! We can all learn a thing or two from it. I was going to comment that “Oh yes! I know that look from my own mum!” but then I was humbled as I read on. A hug goes out to you! We all have our daemons, I know, but not all daemons are equal… Who wants to be normal, anyway?


  2. I want to add, that beire you said it yourself, I was rehearsing in my head that I would say you were mourning her all that time. It takes everyone different times to come to terms. My dad went first and he went alone, mum wa the ill one, several years later. My brother nd I were there untl bout 2 hrs before she passed. Both daughter and I now remember them fondly. It takes time. Evelyn


  3. Oh Gail, i feel terrible for making you cry as that wasn’t my intention (as I know you know) but I am glad that you have finally been able to express your grief at losing your mum, the healing process has begun and the blanket has lifted.

    Take care xx


  4. This is what closure really means, isn’t it? For me, this moment happened as I was going over old photos of my Dad. He had had mild dementia for many years and I had looked after him for the last six. By the time he died, there was little of the old Dad left. But when I went through those photos, my Dad, the old Dad, the real Dad came back. It was a lovely moment.

    I am so glad you have your Mum back. -hugs-


  5. I am glad you found the release you held back from for 14 years. It really is true that we all grieve (or not) in our own way and time. You have showed tremendous courage and kindness to yourself, don’t stop now. Normal is overrated, if it exists at all…


  6. I was lucky enough to see my mother dying in my hands. I was prepared for that fact. After my step-father -whom she adored- died, she was desperate. She remained alive for two more years, suffering from some kind of dementia, though. One day her health deteriorated rapidly and she had to be sent to the hospital.

    She stayed there for three days. Most of the time I was next to her. I don’t know if she was aware of my presence , although she was looking at me. At that time, she was almost deaf and blind. She didn’t have the force (or was it the will?) to say a word. Her glance was empty-even her eyes refused to express anything.

    The night which proved to be her last one, at the moment I heard her death rattle, I started to cry and ask her not lo leave me. Suddenly, a nurse appeared in the room and very softly explained to me that when the soul is preparing to abandon the body and hears beloved persons weep, it’s too difficult for it to be released and so the soul suffers a lot.
    I didn’t want my mother’s soul to suffer even more than during her life, so I forced myself to stop crying.

    One, two, three strong exhalations and she was dead.
    It was like something had left the room. Something invisible. Something of utmost importance. Now, in front of me, there was an “empty” body, that might have my mother’s features, but definitely was not her. The essence of my mother, real her, had escaped the room and vanished in the ether.

    I didn’t feel like crying any more. More than useless, it was needless.
    Besides, I had the certainty that my mother’s soul had travelled to another, better place.

    Almost nine years have passed since then. And there isn’t a single day, that I have not recalled or mentioned her. A few times, she has even visited me in my dreams the eve of major events. She never said a word — just smiled and hugged me. And I was sure: that was a silent sign that everything would go perfectly well.

    To me, accompanying my mother during her last hours, was not simply a duty -or an honor. It was a blessing. Because, it was right after that day, that I started perceiving death from another -fearless-perspective.


    • Hi Kate lovely to see you here. I understand PERFECTLY what you are saying. After mum died dad asked me to take him to the hospital to see her. I said of course I would but I wouldn’t go in with him to ‘see’ her. I didn’t want to see my dead mum. When we arrived mum was still in the bed, on the small ward, with the curtains pulled around her. Dad linked his arm in mine and walked forward. I was taken with him. I looked at my mum (no choice) and like you, realised that all that remained was a shell – the body that my mum had used – and had now left. It was a moment I will never forget. It all, instantly became OK. Mum had gone. She had been released from that worn-out, sick shell and her spirit was free. In retrospect it would have been a huge, sad mistake not to have seen her – or, rather, what she had left behind. I will never forget it. Take care Kate x


  7. Very sad Gail, but moving as well. Strangely enough my mother had a bad heart attack and recovered from it, but died of another afterwards. When she recovered from the first, she said, perfectly seriously ‘I should have died then. That would have been the right thing.’ And, for her sake, that would have been best. But if she had done, it would have been much harder to adjust to it. I haven;t had much experience of sudden death (I hope not to have), but I can imagine it must be terrible. Glad you’ve come to terms with it after all this time.


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