Posted by: pandamoanimum | November 22, 2010

Saying Goodbye…

On November 23rd 2009, I lost someone very special. To try to help me deal with all I was feeling inside, I put it down into words.


Last Saturday my Nan was suddenly rushed into hospital. A tumour had been growing in her brain. Unbeknown and manifesting itself silently until it reached a size where it was too big to be treated….My beloved Nan passed away on Monday afternoon.

I went to see her on the Sunday…to say Goodbye. Even though she was heavily sedated and totally incoherent, I know she knew I was there. Despite the grief of losing her, this has left me with a sense of peace. She was paralysed down one side, but yet with her one good arm, kept trying to pull her catheter out, and the wires from her nose. As distressing as this was, there was a part of me that smiled (albeit wryly). Even being this close to death, she still had that bloody feistiness about her…a trait she’s passed on to all her Granddaughters and one that made me both truly love her yet be a little bit scared of her as a child. She was a diminutive woman…I think I overtook her in the height stakes at about the age of 10…but as a Mother of 5 natural children and 2 adopted ones, that woman ruled her household, no matter what my poor old Grandad thought. Remember the TV show ‘Bread’?…Ma Boswell…I reckon Carla Lane had met my Nan, so very close in certain ways she was to that character.

I am not religious at all and whilst I don’t like to label myself, if anything I would consider myself agnostic rather than an atheist… I believe in some things and not in others. If there is a God, why do so many tragedies occur in the world? But yet too many things that people have said, things I’ve read about etc make me think that when we die we do move on to some place else..Heaven? Hell? Who knows? …but ‘somewhere’ (though maybe there’s just that part inside of me who needs to have that *belief* to cling to, to stop myself being afraid of death and to cope when a loved one is taken from me)

The cynic inside of me also tends not to generally believe in Karma or ‘Everything happens for a reason’ etcetera…but after saying what I knew was probably my final goodbye…fighting back tears, I left the hospital…well tried to. My terrible sense of direction + being in part of the hospital I’d never been to before + refurbishments taking place so parts blocked off etc = me wandering aimlessly around, looking for the exit for nearly half an hour. Whilst click clacking my way down a drafty corridor (Note to self…do not wear heels in a place that echoes when you are desperately trying to be quiet) I bumped into a girl I knew a few years ago. We both took our children to the same ‘Musical Playtime’ group and would occasionally bump into each other when out and about. She asked what I was doing there…I explained…she offered sympathy…you get the drift. I then, of course, asked why she was there. Turned out she’d had a baby boy 3 days earlier. He had been in Intensive Care as he’d had a collapsed lung, but was getting better by the day. She smiled as she told me what a fighter he was…how they’d had to put socks on his hands as he kept pulling his wires out…and that he’d kicked so hard he’d knocked the lid off of his incubator.

Probably purely coincidental… (*that* part inside of me says FFS, get a grip…and learn how to navigate better), but I actually took great comfort in that impromptu meeting. Aware that despite the grief of accepting that my spirited, feisty Nan would soon lose her battle…knowing the world had welcomed into it someone who sounded like they also had that fighting spirit quality she possessed.

I do believe, that when a person’s life is ebbing away, when they know that their time in this world is coming to an end, that they can actually choose when they take their last breath. My Dad, crying bitterly on the phone was completely distressed at the fact that he hadn’t been there when my Nan passed away. Between his sobs, I discovered that only my Aunt had been in the room at the moment my Nan slipped away from this life. Not the obviously distraught husband of 58 years who had virtually sat vigil by her bed since admittance, not the Sons who were visibly struggling with grief before she’d even passed on, but the one natural daughter…the strong one…the one most similar to my Nan in strength and character.

I tried to comfort my Dad…telling him I had heard such things before…that dying, as I see it, is probably the most personal thing a person can do and not something you want those who are going to be stricken with grief at your demise to bear witness to. I hope, in time, he can believe and take solace from this…as I have done…My beautiful Nan, sparing the anguish of physically witnessing our loss was her final gift of love to those she left behind…



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