Losing my mum
Updated: Nov 8, 2018
I hesitated writing about this topic as it’s evidently very personal, but I think writing a post about it might make people feel less awkward around me, not knowing whether to broach the subject or to keep it shut.
For those of you that don’t know, or don’t know the whole story, I lost my mom very suddenly on the 8thof November 2016 and still to this day we don’t know what she died from. I was working and living in the 7tharrondissement in Paris when it all happened and it had been about 10 days since I’d last seen her. She had come over to Paris and stayed with me for a few days, a trip she was so excited about. 4 days prior to her death she was rushed into hospital complaining of chest pain, the doctors saw that she had an irregular heart rhythm and that her heart was beating too fast (180 bmp – a rate I struggle to reach even hill sprinting). They shocked her heart back into a normal rhythm and monitored her over a few days. I was at work when my elder sister phoned me to tell me and instantly I burst into tears. I felt sick, so so sick, it’s a feeling of sheer terror that I have never ever experienced before. So sick to my stomach terrified that we might lose her I couldn’t concentrate on anything else and my boss sent me home.
The last few years have been extremely difficult for my sisters and I, having lost multiple family members in a very short space of time.
Her condition improved over the next 2 days and on Saturday they told us she would be able to come home. That Saturday night however she dipped again and on Sunday afternoon I received a phone call from a nurse at Russel's hall hospital to say that I should book the next flight back to Birmingham as my mom was ‘very, very poorly’ (professionally they can’t tell you anymore over the phone). I called my best friend and almost ran from the Champs Elysées to my apartment in floods of tears, people were staring at me but I didn’t give one shit, I was so petrified for what the outcome might be or that I might not make it back in time to see her before she went. At the same time, a flood of guilt washed over me and I felt awful for not having just gone home earlier regardless of her feeling better.
On Monday I went to see her with my sisters and aunty. They had warned me that she looked awful but even that didn’t prepare me for what I was about to see. Completely deoxygenized she was nearly blue and extremely breathless. Seeing your mom struggling on like that is an image I will live with for the rest of my life and one that I still have nightmares about to this very day. I fought back the tears, wanting to be strong for her and not wanting her to worry (as she didn’t realise just how ill she was). I spent the whole day in tears, I didn’t eat, sleep or drink, I would stay with her then run off to the visitors’ room and sob my heart out with my head on the table thinking why is this happening to us? What have we done to deserve this? What has she done to deserve this? We were told to prepare ourselves for the worst.
The following day we arrived at the hospital around 8am to receive that news, she wasn’t going to make it and that we should say our last goodbyes to her. My whole world absolutely shattered, my knees beneath me buckled, the nurse held me up, I was inconsolable. I felt like I couldn’t cry enough, not hard enough, I couldn’t shed enough tears, I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t express how I felt in any other way. We stayed at her bedside whilst the priest gave her the last rights, watched her take her last breath and she was gone.
People often don’t know what to say to you when you lose a loved one, especially when it’s sudden and unexpected. They think avoiding the topic despite the fact there’s a massive elephant in the room is the best way of dealing with it – for me, it's not. They don’t ‘want to upset you’ but ignoring a tragic life-changing event like that upsets me more. Sometimes I want to talk about it, not in a morbid way, but to be able to reminisce over the way she was, things she said, things we did together without being made to feel like the person listening is uncomfortable or awkward. It does me good.
My mom was and always will be my best friend and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her or think of her. Things you take for granted when your mom is there all the time such as picking up the phone to tell her you’ve had a bad day, this or that has happened, asking for her advice, you've lost something (mom always knows where it is), all these little things that seem so ‘normal' to everyone else, but that I’d give anything to have back.
I often think about all the life events she’ll miss out on – weddings (if anyone is actually mad enough to one day wanna marry me), babies, my sisters and I growing up etc and it makes me so incredibly sad, words just wouldn’t do it justice.
I know I'm biased but for me, she was the most amazing woman, so kind, so generous, so friendly, no one has a bad word to say about her because she was everyone’s friend. She’d help anyone out and she just gave and gave and gave. The day she died, part of me died too and whilst I’ve done and continue to do my best to carry on ever since I’ll forever live with a part of me that’s missing, an unfillable void.
I can only hope to grow to become the incredible woman that she was, love you always mom.