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Being With My Mum During Her Last Moments With Cancer Was a Privilege

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In early March my incredible mum passed away. She’d been diagnosed with cancer 18 months before and had fought a brave and strong battle. This woman was like superwoman — nothing would stop her powering on as usual. She even took chemotherapy in her stride, feeling “a little tired” but never complaining.

She’d become weaker and weaker over a matter of weeks, and deep down we knew it was a path to the end of her life with us.

The evening before she passed she’d gone to sleep and didn’t wake up. So on the morning of her passing we called close friends and family to come and say good-bye. Mum continued to sleep upstairs, and I sat downstairs with her friends while her nurse made sure she was comfortable. Incredibly she’d had no pain killers and showed no signs of being in pain.

I looked at the clock at 11:11 p.m. and decided to go upstairs where my sister and my brother-in-law were sitting with Mum. It was at that moment, Mum’s breathing got faster and then, after a succession of big breathes, she took her last.

What followed after this is my main reason for this post. Yes, there were tears and immense sadness, and the most unbearable feeling of numbness. But what occurred to me was what an incredible privilege it had been to be with someone as they left this life.

In the same way as seeing someone being born, it is such an enormously special event. I find it almost impossible to describe, but it made me feel so close to not only my mother, but also to my sister and brother-in-law. It was a situation that could never be repeated and was so important to us all.

There was a gentle calm to the air and a delicate silence that seemed to go on for ever.

Everything that had ever happened to my mum and with my mum had come together in those last final moments. There was nothing else that mattered in the slightest at that time. All that mattered was that we were there with mum to make certain she left the life with all of our love.

And I believe she did.

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Thinkstock photo by sanjagrujic

Originally published: August 11, 2017
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