We lost her at 3.30am 21/10/10. Like everything, she chose her own way to leave the world, and her own time. The doctors' thought it would be days and I stupidly went home late the night before planning on returning before sun-up in the morning. But she beat me to it. At 4am another of those dreadful calls came through, and as soon as it woke me I knew.
She was quite coherent until the end, had made her wishes more than clear. Tired, in pain, and finished with life. Gave the doctors strict instructions on a DNR. Expressed her gratitude to me for not denying her the right to choose death. Yesterday a dear friend reminded me: "Just like your grandmother chose to leave." And she was right. Strong stock these Madmother women.
Wise Woman asked to say goodbye to Boy 1 and Boy 2, which was another reason I chose to leave. Even though she had been in hospital nearly two months they honestly thought Nanna would bounce back, after all she always had in their lifetime. They cried, told her they loved her, thanked her for being there and everything she had ever done for them. She left them in no doubt as to how she felt about them, they had given her reason to breathe for the last decade or so, without them she may well have chosen this path earlier believing her work to be done.
"But why is she dying? what is she dying of?" Boy 2 cried. How do you explain to an 11 year old about choosing death. As bright as he is the choice was simple: you love me, why leave me?
I spoke to him as clearly as I could get my mind around it (and I must admit there was a little girl inside me screaming the same thing)... "Nanna is frail, the pain is too much and her tired body is worn out. She has lived a wonderful, happy life and does not want the end of her life to be full of misery and anguish. It is her choice and as WE love her we need to let her know it is okay and we understand."
Driving home from the hospital, after much thought he states: "I am really sad, but inside me is a little part rejoicing for her." God, these children, they amaze me and give me strength to go on.
Boy 1 was quiet, tears silently rolling down his cheeks. Once home he asked me: "How do I go on without someone who has helped me all my life. How do I get used to her not being there?" I could not answer straight away for I too feel the same.
I must face life without her, knowing that the one person who saw me warts and all, who loved me no matter what, and who was my biggest safety net when I fell, is gone. Not in my heart but in my physical world. No more can I ring her to laugh over something, no more can I seek her wise counsel when the angry world confuses me. No more can I drop in unannounced, giving her last minute warning with a "tooot toooot" at the door.
I am hurting, and yet grateful. To have had Wise Woman in my life for so long is an incredible blessing. To be raised by such a woman, well, words fail me.
Mum, I love you, I will always love you and hold you in my heart. I promise to do you proud.
5/10/1919 - 21/10/2010
daughter of an incredible woman.