|Patricia Vervoort (nee Mulcahy)|
As inevitable this day was, predicted three years ago when she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, I still couldn't believe it happened - I couldn't believe I was there to witness it happen. I don't want to believe she's gone.
She was still living on her own at home (with a lot of help and a lot of difficulty) at the beginning of March. Her turn for the worse seems so fast now, in retrospect ... six long weeks in the hospice, two previous weeks at the regional hospital - those days felt so long, now seem so few. I was with her every day and am so thankful for that. Those days are precious.
|9 April 2013|
|10 April 2013|
During her final days I sat beside her writing her obituary. I kept thinking about how it was the first major work of writing that I would do without her advice. She's been my best editor, my best source for information and direction. She had wanted to proof read her obituary... I'm sure she would have thought what I wrote was too much, not modest as she was, and too expensive to print; although I think if she could read it now she would humbly approve.
Today I'm sitting writing this at out dining room table which is nearly buried under flowers from her
service. Flowers from friends, relatives, former students of my mother - all with sympathy cards attached. They're all beautiful, all so depressing.
Beautifully depressing sums up the last two months perfectly. During a recent prenatal appointment my doctor kept referring to my mother's death as a beautiful thing; at the time I did not agree, did not understand..., now I suppose I can say that it was. It was a beautiful moment, surreal, an incredible event to be so entwined in. I watched her, felt her, take her last breath. I'll never forget the light.
|16 April 2013|
I don't think it has all sunk it yet - we've been so busy making arrangements, settling her estate, visiting with lawyers, accountants, preparing her service. Today, this afternoon to be exact, is my first alone time in weeks, and the first time I've had to start begin absorbing how much life has changed in such a short time.
I had decided I wasn't going to anything this afternoon. 'Put my feet up and get lost in my thoughts' was my plan. Instead I got lost in one of my mother's travel journals - found this morning among her belongings. It's documents her trips to Bhutan in 2008 and to the Mediterranean in 2009. She wrote as she explored - sometimes in the air, sometimes on buses... scribbling notes on everything from her step count to descriptions of people she met, sights she saw, architecture, landscape, food... - everything. Her handwriting has always been so impeccable, but in moments throughout this journal, as in her final months, it becomes scribble as she travels along the bumpy road.
She lived a full life. She learned as much as she could, travelled as far as she could, loved passionately, fought for what she believed in, and challenged herself every step of the way. She has left me with so much. I know Hannah has a memory full of her Nana, her lessons, mannerisms, what it was like to travel with her. She's lucky, and grateful. Now I'm daunted by the task of ensuring the baby inside me knows the woman who raised me.
...and on that note, more flowers just arrived...