She died in a nursing home on 3 February, shortly after a month or so in a hospice. She was 87. She was on morphine, and I believe felt no pain, but was very sleepy. She was not the Mum I knew six months ago. But she was still my Mum, and now she isn't here any more.
As you see, I began this blog when grieving. It met an immediate need to be flippant and light and anything but tearful. I know very well why I 'went public'. Don't be fooled. I am sitting on a lot of pain, some of which I really don't know how to express, but it will all come out sooner or later. Meanwhile I am the executor, and arrangements have to be made, people seen. My Dad is helping me write the letters, make and answer the phone calls to and from the people Mum touched in her life. I intend to say something at the funeral about her life and her family, and read a poem. I have already written a poem about the day she died, and I'd like to share it with you. It isn't the one I shall read at the funeral, it's too personal and raw for that. Here it is:
UNDER THE SHEET
Strange, how a Hand had wiped away
All my engagements for the day.
Strange, how I'd had to drive behind
An empty hearse, with room for one inside.
And in the gallery, as I studied art,
How strange it was,
That feeling I was playing a part.
Then later in your room,
With the white sheet on your bed,
I stood with a bursting heart
While a storm wave broke in my head.
Oh so cold and pale!
Your face averted,
As if a flame had passed too close.
I hoped the bearer of that fire
Had been a winged angel
Or perhaps the Holy Ghost.
The unbeliever knelt and prayed,
And found some loving words to say.
I wished you in Heaven, and said it through tears,
But they couldn't repair the guilt of years.
I wanted to tell you and explain,
I wanted to tell you my real name.
And speak of this, and this, and this,
But all I could do at the very end
Was to give your cheek the softest kiss.
The funeral is on 18 February.