My mum is a star. Vibrant and sassy, full of style and charm. A veteran of many a golf club and gin joint. An adventurer, only a little constrained by her time and place. Why would she buy boring black when bright pink is available? Informal, but with an eye for the proprieties- wine from a tumbler is fine at the kitchen table, as long as you don’t forget the good china for a formal event. Constantly striving to love, learn and laugh. Strong, passionate and funny. She’s warm, generous and sociable.
My mum has always been the youngest mum within my groups of friends. She was the right age to enjoy the sixties, she was in her early forties when I graduated and was ready to reap the benefits of a long retirement. After being widowed at 50, she moved to live in Spain. By 60 she was happily remarried, had grandchildren to dote over, and an active social life, in Ireland once more. When I moved house, she arrived with cleaning products and wine- Spurs Fan arrived home to find the house well warmed, but no cleaner than when he’d left.
Now, my mum is dying. Very, very slowly. We may not be able to share another Mothers’ Day. Her brain is getting all tangled (the science bit) and doesn’t send the right messages to her body, so it’s shutting down. She’s unable to eat, can hardly speak, she has long lost her balance and is losing any ability to move. Her vision is severely limited. She needs full time nursing care. There is no treatment for her condition. She is 68.
We are defeated by this. Her husband, children and grandchildren, her siblings and wider family, her good friends- we are all helpless. We are heartbroken. We can only watch, hold her hand, and absorb each blow, each little loss, and know that the big loss comes ever closer.