Death Came Quick in 2020
I lost my mum.
Four of the most painful words I will ever write.
The fear of losing her haunted me for years; this year it happened. It wasn’t supposed to happen, it’s never really meant to happen, right? If I were to be the designer of life, no one would lose their mothers before they were ready, the good mothers that is. Yes, mothers would die well into their 90s, well after we had mothered our own children to adulthood. And they wouldn’t suffer in the latter years, they would just ride through life with all their loving motherly energy and one day they would lie down for a nap never to wake again, like death was nothing. And we would all weep for the loss of our dear mothers. But oh, what joy we’d have knowing she had been there for everything and it was time to move on. And we’d love, because that’s what one should do to celebrate the life of a woman who was love.
But I’m in no life designer.
So, this year I spent the better half chatting away with mum on our regular calls planning our visit between a measles epidemic and Covid-19 pandemic. The second half was short. Abdomen pain, doctors visits, tests, emergency room, hospital, a diagnosis, a prognosis, hospice, home care, death.
Death came five weeks from her diagnosis. It was five weeks suffering in the most excruiating pain (how about a cancerous mass sitting on some nerves to challenge morphine). It came with fatigue, lots and lots of fatigue. It came with waiting. Waiting for six daughters to get flights home during a pandemic and sit through two weeks of quarantine under the eyes of the the military and security. It came with visitors, lots of visitors, sitting, holding hands, kisses, talking, tears, and when she had the strength, laughing. It came with memories and lost dreams. It came with gratitude, sadness, and anger. It came with disbelief. It came with messages and flowers, high tea parties and crème brûlée. It came with so much love.
The rest of the year I sit in my own pain.
It seems so unfair to lose my mum just as my own motherhood journey is beginning. But this still isn’t real to me and my mum is still here to answer my questions and share her stories. This is all just a bad dream, right?