This is the first Mother’s Day that I haven’t chosen a card or gift for my mother, for she died in January. Although it was for the best – and she was nearly 96, it still affected me more than I ever anticipated. (As my mum had reached such a ripe old age and had been at death’s door a few times, I thought I was well prepared).
As you will have seen from some of my earlier blogs, she had a mixture of Alzheimer’s and dementia (two different parts of the brain affected) so life was very difficult for both of us. She lived with me till two years ago – until I could no longer cope, mainly because she had manic episodes where she would be very agitated and go without sleep for days and nights until she became exhausted, then she would sleep for maybe 12 hours or more and recharge her batteries – until the next time. Unfortunately I still had to get on with my every day existence and sleep deprivation is a form of torture. I actually reached breaking point and after one of the three-day/night episodes I phoned Social Services to say that sadly, I had reached the end of the road.
She went into full-time care at the home were she sometimes went for respite, so was quite settled there – well, as settled as she would ever be. Her decline was gradual until the last few months when she was confined to bed, doubly incontinent, could no longer feed herself and had to be turned every two hours to prevent bedsores.
The day before she died I gave her the evening meal and she ate most of it, including a dessert and drank a whole cup of tea. I had no indication whatsoever that it would be for the last time.
The following morning at about half nine I received a call from the home asking me to go there urgently. I flew there as quickly as I could and as I arrived the nurse told me Mum had passed away. The carers had turned her at 8am and at 8.15 the nurse checked in on her. When the carer went in with her breakfast just after nine she found that Mum had died. She was still warm when I got there.
So, after all the torment of recent years, she slipped away peacefully at the end.