Five years ago, I watched my mother die.
( Kent, UK)
'Give me a moment dear', were my mother's last words. These were spoken in a whisper. We were in an ambulance and she had shown some distress just before we were to go in to the hospice. She never made it. Suddenly, she looked intently at me and her breathing changed. I was standing at the foot of her stretcher bed but swiftly moved to her side. I took her hand and spoke her name. I could see she was dying. 'Mum, mum, I love you.' I then found myself saying: 'Go peacefully mum. Go peacefully.'
She sighed, took her last breath, and died.
It all sounds perfect doesn't it? The idyllic scene, where the dying person is comforted and leaves this world calmly and in peace. I hope she was comforted by my presence. Everyone said how special a moment this was for both of us.
Even after five years, I can recall it vividly and it still has the power to awaken deep pain. I was traumatised for months and no matter how many times people told me that I was 'lucky' to have been with her, and how they wished they'd been with their own mother, I can't forget that awful scene and how I felt as I watched my mother die in front of me knowing that it was final and that I couldn't stop it. She was never going to speak again, and I was never going to see or speak to her for the rest of my life. The sheer terror of her leaving was played out right before me. Never have I felt so alone.
I kissed her and cried over and over, 'Mum, mum'. But she was gone. There was nothing but silence apart from my own weeping.
The two paramedics were discreet and one was openly upset. A sweet quietly spoken Doctor came in and sat with me. Someone put a blanket round my shoulders - apparently I was shivering.
Mum was 85 and had become extremely weak from heart and kidney failure and the end, we all knew, was not far away. But even minutes before her death, she had been joking with us, and I was happy that she was going to be loved and cared for at this beautiful hospice near where we lived.
It was not to be. Five years on, the pain is less and I cope better. But I can never forget that moment we shared together, nor that the last face she saw as she slipped into death was mine. I am a little more reconciled after all this time, but sometimes I envy my sister who missed it all and who, while this tremendous moment was taking place, was out shopping. I carried it around with me like a stone in my heart for months and months and only after two years did the flashbacks cease and the chest pains reduce.
Today, the anniversary of her death, I can talk about it, and better still, write this: I would give anything to talk to her just once more. I miss her so much and always will. Thank you for reading my story.