Two years ago on this day and almost to the hour, I was sitting next to my mother’s hospital bed holding her hand as she lay her mouth open trying to draw air, less than an hour later she would pass away.
I had sat by her side trying to help her recover for 19 days, only leaving to go home for some brief sleep and to check and feed the cats, while a friend checked them at other times before I returned to sit with her.
Eventually, after initial recovery and receiving fast-tracked CHC funding she was denied of going to the local hospice or home as she wanted. A care company assessed her on the ward and the next day decided they would not provide support, CHC funding was then removed without given reason and her health declined.
I spent the last days in the hospital with her, sleeping in a chair when I couldn’t stay awake any longer, and only going home for a few minutes.
The hour before she died I said to my mother ‘I’m just going to feed the cats, I’ll be back in a minute, someone’s coming to sit with you.’ Whether she heard me I don’t know, but I would like to think she did and it comforted her.
I left the side room and asked a nurse to sit with my mother so she was not alone, while I went home for a few minutes to check and feed our cats, as usual.
The pandemic lockdown was yet to start, but I recall traffic was light and the journey home was quick.
As I finished putting the cats some treats with their food, my phone rang. It was the nurse who had kindly said they would sit with my mother while I was away. The nurse said ‘you need to come back, your mum is going.’
I rushed out of the house and was back at the hospital in minutes, making my way to the ward as fast as I could.
I reach the side room where my mother was and opened the door to find my mother alone, and as I looked at her I thought I saw her chest move as if exhaling.
I quickly held my mother’s hand and said ‘mum I’m back’ but notice she had stopped breathing and within seconds her hand was getting colder; mum was gone.
Mum was pronounced dead at 11.05 am, and a part of me died with her that day, I having failed to ensure her wish to pass away peacefully at home was upheld.
And significantly distressing, so far failing to uphold her long desire for me to ensure my vulnerable adopted brother is adequately cared for and supported.