“Chicken or Beef”or “Do Not Disturb”

Definitely not “chicken or beef” this time on the flight of her life but rather the “DO NOT DISTURB” sign brightly illuminated.

She is going out with a bark of obscenities and unkind words. As I touch her or help her with her blankets or even try and hold her hand for that matter, she shoves me off and complains that I’m either hurting her, or doesn’t want to be touched. She tells me I’m weighing her down and on top of her when I’m innocently sitting in a chair and reading a book, completely minding my own business.

Somehow it is not hurting so much today. I’ve spent so many years victim of this caustic tongue, but there is, at the core of her, a fierce love that although so often not felt by me, she has lavishly enveloped her grandchildren, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews in abundance. She is fiercely loyal to all and comes right to the party like a lioness defending her cubs when the chips are down.

She has a formidable presence for all of her 4 foot nothing height and has quietly and resolutely ruled the roost for many years – 90 years. She is dogmatic in her religious beliefs and has questionable opinions in keeping with the blinkered outlook of many of her generation.

As I sit here I feel a profound love. She is who she is. Her entire being was shattered with the death of my sister, Gayle and her life has been a series of hurts and disappointments. Her marriage to my naughty father was fraught with tension and hurt. When you lose a child you grieve differently. Their subsequent financial ruin embittered her. He died in the year 2000 and for the last 22 years she has told us that she’s going to die imminently BUT she has clung on resolutely and has survived 3 stent operations, a heart complication, and an amputation. She has been wheelchair bound with nappies for months and now for the past few weeks bed ridden and skeletal and yet still she rails against letting go.

Do not go into that good night, old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage rage against the dying of the light“ Dylan Thomas

My wish for her is to find her peace, the kind, loving, funny person she was, the woman who used to sing in the car with me on long journeys, and giggle uncontrollably at so many stories shared. To go happily into the arms of those who have gone before her

“Be gentle with your love Mom, and be free.

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