She woke up!
I wanted to write this story/blog for myself first and foremost as I know how cathartic is to get pen to paper but more than that I want this story to soften the blow of loss and grief and if it resonates, perhaps it can bring you peace. This is my intention, to share my truth and hopefully give you peace.
My mammy was my best friend my whole life. Our journey is hard to put into words and that is for another blog and maybe I will share it if there is interest or perhaps I will share it, just for me. My mother Carmel McLoughlin had cancer three times and each time she battled and fought as hard as she could, I know some of her fight was because she loved her family dearly, some of it was because she didn’t like losing and of course some of it was fear based, she didn’t want to die. She had more life left to live. The third time cancer came knocking she was tired, frailer (physically) and I suppose fed up with fighting for her health.
I was on a work trip in Barcelona when my sister rang checking in when I would be home, (warned not to say anything to me, the baby of the family) but I could read between the lines and asked my sister what’s going on. “It’s back Lainey, mams not well” With that the familiar bang of terror returned.
The third time is also when we heard the sentence, “no harm getting your ducks in a row” a bit of my mother died that day when she heard those words, I witnessed it. Isn’t hope everything, when we lose it, we lose part of ourselves? We must always have hope.
We were all actively involved in her medical path and journey. We were allowed to ask questions and be present and know all the information, some of which mam didn’t want to be present for. I suppose she knew it all already. I had a chat with her last consultant…. “Maybe 6 months”. Treatment didn’t go to plan and once again I was given permission to speak to her consultant, “maybe 4 weeks” She wasn’t wrong….
September came and I was in visiting mam daily in hospital, a palliative staff member came round. When you first meet the palliative team, I suppose you feel closed off to them. You don’t want their help, they only mean one thing, the end is near, but these little earth angels know that and allow you time to settle into your emotions. One beautiful soul came to mams room to check in, it was just the three of us. “Carmel, can I do anything for you?” My mam responded, “Yes can you stop me from dying, I don’t want to die” My people pleasing tendencies nearly consumed me, this poor nurse, what a difficult position to be put in, my poor mother, begging a stranger to spare her life. This little earth angel didn’t flinch like me though, with grace and kindness she gave my mam space for her feelings, I suppose it wasn’t the first time she had received this request. I sobbed that day in my mothers’ arms, unable to contain my emotions (you see usually the baby doesn’t cry, don’t upset the baby, so you learn to entertain and bring the joy, shove your emotions down) I told my mam how scared I was, how I needed her and please god we would eventually be blessed on our fertility journey with a child, but if so how could I raise a child without my mammy here to help? In that moment my mammy didn’t offer me the words I thought she would. She rubbed my head and said you’ll figure it all out, I had to. She lost both her parents at a very young age and had to grow up far too fast. She was too angry to soothe me, she didn’t want to die. I gathered myself and brought back the joy, that was my job, it still is to some extent.
Fast forward a few weeks, all hours of the morning dad rang me. “Lainey it’s time, the hospital rang, its time” I went into autopilot, myself dad and my husband headed into the hospital to meet my brother and sister and the rest of the family to be with mam. However, when we got there, we were not expecting her to be asleep. The nurses explained that she had deteriorated, and they did a special test/technique that indicated to them that mam wouldn’t wake up again. In that moment my heart shattered into a thousand pieces. I had been with mam the night before, but I didn’t give her an extra special goodbye, I didn’t confess every inch of my love that I needed her to know. I was devastated. No longer able to keep up my performance I stayed by my mams side and cried and begged and pleaded, please wake up mammy please wake up. I put my needs before hers, begging, I needed to speak to her one last time. I needed that.
So many friends and family came and went over the hours that mam slept. We all told stories and had our moments one on one. It was lovely, peaceful, but for me, it was not enough. I prayed like I have never prayed before. Everyone was down in the family room, except myself and my dear uncle who was also quite poorly, but he wanted to be with his sister. Each of us taking tea breaks and grabbing fresh air when we could. Suddenly mam woke up! She opened her eyes smiled and expressed how thirsty she was. RUN, UNCLE TONY RUN (poor man could barely walk!). Go get them. Bless him he ran for his sister, he ran to get her family, our family, he was so frail himself I’m not sure how he did it!
She was awake and we all bundled into the room, my siblings, dad and lots of family and friends. The joy in my mother’s face, the peace, the serenity. She looked younger. She addressed us all one by one with loving thoughts and giggles. We were all on a high. She was so calm, there was no fear. Her anger and frustration dissolved from the family members and angels that had visited her in her sleep, she told us who she had seen, and we knew that they were preparing to welcome her. She was so close to death but in that moment also so close to the light, it radiated from her. She had heard our whispers while she slept, that in itself was a relief, mam explained that she felt like she was on top of a mountain looking down on us all and she would like 24 hrs before making her final journey. Her decision was always final!
My sister and I slept in mams room that night and I must have kissed her little face and hands a million times, each time waking her, but she just smiled. A smile I will never forget. My sister joked to stop waking her, let her rest but I couldn’t stop kissing her. I wished her back one last time and here she was. Telling me she loved me, I was beautiful, and I have fabulous teeth and smile! My prayers had been answered.
Morning came and mam was a little agitated and uncomfortable, so we requested medication to help her. The nurse explained it would be best for mam, but it would also send her back to sleep, this time for good. We honoured our mother by easing her pain and her wish of 24hrs.
Off to sleep she went and when I looked around the room at us all by her bedside, reminiscing, crying, and laughing I counted each one of us. Twelve of us!! Twelve of us around my mother, I couldn’t help but smile at my fellow apostles.
The day went on and I felt mams legs, they were cold, physically her body knew they would not be needed to walk this earth again. I felt the back of my mams neck and it blazed with heat, I am sure it is a common physiological symptom of someone passing but in my heart, I knew it was the light of the sun, the light of the angels and love blazing down upon her.
My father sat beside me and said to the room, your mother is going to pass now, and I don’t want to watch the woman I love take her last breath. He stood up, went outside the door and they both left the room, her soul departed as he stepped out. Two new journeys at the exact same time. After 40 years of marriage, they were no longer together, physically.
I can’t describe the pain of losing my mammy but also the intense gratitude for how she passed, for the insight into the removal of all her fear, and the arrival of intense peace and joy. She felt safe, and I really want you to know that when our loved one’s pass, they feel safe. That is really all we ever want for them, safety, no pain and to feel protected. Fear and pain are an earthly emotion, when our loved one’s pass, they are surrounded by so much light and love it is incomprehensible. I have so much gratitude in my heart for being with mam in her last hours and minutes and I can’t imagine the pain of not being there, which with the current climate of the world many will have missed being by the side of their nearest and dearest. I can’t take your pain away, the hurt and loss you feel. But if you are open to the possibility of a higher realm, or angels or universal energy. I can assure you that when they pass there is no words to describe the love, peace, and security they feel. All pain is removed, and they wish for you to live your life for them, live every moment, and don’t sweat the small stuff. Your loved ones are with you every day. You can call on them, ask for signs, they are eager to show you.
My mams final journey was beautiful and that was a blessing for us all, but if it had turned out differently, I know that in time the soul is ready to leave the body, the presence of love, spirit, and angels wrap them up in a love that soothes the darkest of moments, that carries them on the wings of love, and so it is.
My mam gifted me my precious little boy after her passing, and I thought that Reiki gifted me the ability to communicate with the angels and at times spirit but after writing this, perhaps that was you too mam. I love you, mammy, I will always be your little girl, your orchestra, Elaine xxx