On 28 August 2014 my lovely Mum died. It was unexpected. She was in hospital, but, if the doctors are to be believed, in no immediate danger, except that she died. That's about as much danger as a patient can be in, surely? They were all shocked and very sorry, but that doesn't bring her back. They hadn't worked out what was wrong with her and we will never know now. I suspect some post-viral "thing" that an immune system weakened by recent steroid treatment couldn't handle, but I'm not a doctor. I could spend the rest of my life torturing myself with "what if"s, but that won't change things. Unfortunately, my slight obsessive tendencies may yet see this happening. Either way, I find myself in a situation where my whole world has changed, with a gaping hole in the centre of it where once resided a lovely lady who was also one of my best friends.
My Dad said he had lost his "life's sweetheart" and when he asked me: "do you think she knew I loved her?" my heart broke just a little bit more.
When I rang my brother to tell him he uttered a noise the like of which I had never heard before and I don't care to hear again.
This evening Dad told me he had found the burial record for his mother, who died shortly after he was born. The date was 19 September 1935. His wife's funeral is on 19 September 2014, 79 years later. He hadn't known of the connection, so this is sheer chance. Not a happy chance, but there does seem to be an element of symmetry there.
I know it is the natural order of things to lose one's parents and I have friends who lost a parent at a much younger age - my father never knew his mother. Right now that doesn't comfort me at all. Possibly because of the unexpected nature of this we all feel cheated. We feel that Mum was cheated too. She had plans, until she got a sore throat, which precipitated complete muscle weakness and death. I really don't think she expected not to be around. Cheated of seeing her grand-children growing up, they cheated of her love and wisdom. Cheated of time with family and friends, of living life as she always had: with grace, compassion and a huge sense of fun. And giggling. Much giggling at very random things, usually resulting in complete confusion on my father's part.
When I look around their bungalow I see the jumper she had nearly finished knitting and various quilting projects she was planning. There's a bolt of fabric somewhere that was going to be a summer dress. She had recently completed a set of four embroideries (I completed my set years ago) and they are waiting to be framed. I have just started a cross-stitch embroidery that she bought in July; her next project. She had put the canvas on the frame and started the first stitch. I shall complete it for her, even though each stitch feels like a stab in my heart at the moment. We discovered that she had just ordered some jewellery from a favourite company. On that order was a bracelet for me. It should arrive soon and I will treasure it. She hadn't planned to be anywhere other than here. I keep telling myself she'll be home soon. I expect everyone does that. Mind you, I still catch myself thinking of something I ought to tell my cousin: he died 16 years ago. I am sensing this won't go well for me. I read on the internet somewhere that after about 18 months things start to get better. Hmm, that's a long time.
Maybe I will just keep talking to her, telling her all the things I normally would. I wish I believed she would hear me, I really do, but I don't.
Tomorrow we go to say our final goodbyes, with the funeral on Friday. Wish me luck as I try to make it through the week in a manner that would make Mum proud of me.