Shoulda, woulda, coulda
My mum passed away March 22nd 2012. I hadnt seen her in twelve years as she lived overseas and when I went to visit her there was an exchange of words and we parted on bad terms.I returned home without a flicker of remorse and remained friends with my sisters who live fairly close by to her. (I am the eldest). On December the ninth last year my sister called to tell me the news that mum had been diagnosed with cancer and although it was early days it didnt look good. I wrestled with myself as to what was the right thing to do. The girls told me not to travel across the globe as I have a young family who need me here. My husband gave me the option of going but left the final decision with me. As I had only just begun a new job which I had rallied hard for I was in a very tricky situation. Do I leave and go over to the UK with the chance the door might be slammed in my face? Do I stay here in Australia and take the chance I would cope fairly well with her illness and demise? Only two options but they may as well be two thousand. My mum was one of the most stubborn difficult women I have ever encountered so the conundrum was difficult. When the news was delivered to me that it was terminal I was quiet, I was shocked, I was a whole barrel full of emotions but I dont remember being devastated. I remember being guilty at not being devastated strangely enough. For a few weeks I maintained my aloofness but then one morning in the early hours I was talking to my sisters on the phone and they had moved in to nurse her at home. The cancer had spread rapidly and my experience as a palliative care nurse was vital to them. I advised them and comforted them especially the youngest. (mums favourite) but after the phone call I quite simply crashed. I think the reality hit that the woman who carried me in her body and gave life to me, who was my best friend for the first fourteen years of my life was about to climb off this mortal coil forever. Oh my gosh I was a mess. I had asked several times of the girls if she had mentioned me at all and the answer was always no so I decided I had to write to her. I wrote what started out as a note which soon became a novel of epic proportions. I brought her up to date on all my kids lives and all the news about my own grandaughter who she had never seen. I told her about my new job and my beautiful new home. I mentioned that I was very well although I suffer from a crippling illness.(not nearly as crippling as cancer)and I included beautiful recent portraits of my kids and grandaughter. I said how the girls had told me all about her situation and how they kept me up to speed with all the news and I wound up telling her I understand if she doesnt want to reply as too much water under the bridge etc. I also said I was terribly sorry for leaving the gap to widen so far over the years. I said I understood if she didnt forgive me but I bore no ill feeling for her not contacting me and the door was wide open should she decide to have a relationship with me. I wished her well i told her I loved her and I quickly posted the letter before I changed my mind. A few days later my sister phoned me and said the letter had been received. Mum opened it read it looked at the phots and then threw the letter at my sister and said "you might want to read this" Sis asked her if she wanted to write to me or talk on the phone but she shrugged. I was undetered and still called every second day. A few days later the cancer grabbed her severely. She was only semi-conscious and there were very few windows of lucidity for her. My sister told me ring and I called immedietly expecting the worse, sis told me mum was barely with it and had mumbled ny name. I asked her to put the phone beside her and I spoke to her on the phone. Her eyes opened and she repeated what I was saying to her albeit in a stupified morphine induced state. After a few minutes I asked if she was tired she said yes and I told her goodbye. She was struggling to speak and could barely breathe. My sis told me later that mum had smiled for the first time in days when I began speaking to her. 48 hours later they called me.She had taken a very bad turn for the worse and was in a coma like state. I called several times throughout the day and text messaged. They would reply right away and keep me posted, I began to panic asking was this the end? was this it? When I finished work that night I was Text messaging before I got in the car. They didnt answer. I rang they didnt pick up!!!! I was cranky because they were my lifeline as to what was going on in what had been our family home for three generations. I drove home in a bad mood and as I stepped out of the car my husband was standing in the driveway. It was very late and very dark and I called out hello to him. He didnt answer. I walked towards him and tears were flooding his eyes. They had just called two minutes before. I had missed the call. Mum was gone. He wrapped me in his arms telling me over and over how sorry he was and I began to cry but suddenly an overwhelming primeval sensation came over me. I had the worst pain my heart that i thought I would vomit from the severity. I hated myself and I hated the cancer that took her, I hated my circumstances and the distance half a globe had put between us. This is what it felt like to lose your mother. I had lost a best friend a couple of years earlier which was tragic but it didnt feel anything like this. When my first husband and I split up it didnt feel anything like this. When I crashed my car 20 years before and broke half my bones in my body it didnt feel like this!!!! My heart was broken. This is what a truly broken heart feels like. Since March the 22nd I have cried every day. I have regretted hundreds of times not going over, I have tormented myself and I miss her so badly I dont think I can ever speak about her without a lump in my throat. I see her often in my dreams and I talk to her daily in my head. My faith has given me some comfort and I feel her looking at me watching me and laughing at me when I do something silly. I will remember that pain for the rest of my life and wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy. I cant imagine how terrible it must be for someone to lose their mother if they have a close loving relationship with her. I wish to put my arms around all of you who have lost mum in whatever circumstances.