Monday, 29 December 2014


This is Part 3 of my diary excerpts. You'll find Part 1 here and Part 2 here...

"My flights home took me via Frankfurt to Edinburgh and my dad was collecting me there to drive me back to Aberdeen.  However, when I arrived in Frankfurt, I saw the ‘departures’ board that indicated that my flight to Edinburgh was delayed, and then minutes later it was cancelled.  I rushed to the airline desk and was in tears – I really needed to get home.  The lady at the counter was brilliant.  Quickly my flights were re-arranged and I was not only booked on a flight from Frankfurt to Glasgow, but also a second flight from Glasgow to Aberdeen.  I phoned dad, and managed to catch him before he left to collect me.  He was to meet me in Aberdeen later that day.

Back at Aberdeen airport, dad picked me up and we drove straight to the hospital to see mum.  I remember walking through the corridors – we had a short cut that we used to get us to mum’s room – and I asked dad ‘I don’t know what to say – what should I say’.  I don’t remember the reply, but mum was still mum when we got to her room.  She didn’t look particularly ill at this stage, but this was to get much worse.  I remember mum telling me that she was just really glad that I returned home safely.  I had half expected her to pass away quietly then, safe in the knowledge that I had returned home from Israel, but that wasn’t the case.  Mum was only 51 – and her organs were in full health.  It was just the cancer that was the problem.  It had spread to the bowels, and there was no longer an option to operate, and chemotherapy would not have helped in this case.  It was just a case of waiting for mum’s body to pack in.  I don’t know if she was in pain, but I presume she had painkillers etc.  I think her diet by this stage was soup, and you could see that she was losing weight.

Dad and I had a meeting with one of the staff at the hospital, because mum had requested that she wanted to come home to die.  This was one of the most difficult situations I had been faced with, because I had to have the guts and say that I didn’t want her to come home because it would be too difficult for us.  Dad was working full-time, Ali was still at school – and it would have been myself that would have had to care for mum.  She needed 24 hour assistance, and I just didn’t feel capable.  I also didn't want to have sad memories of her at the house - I just wanted to cling to the happy ones. We agreed that it would be ideal if we could get mum a bed at a hospice.  Thankfully, a bed came up at the hospice and mum was moved there. 

The  hospice was lovely – the grounds outside were peaceful, the staff were friendly and it was a much nicer environment than the hospital.  Mum was in a room with about 5 other ladies – and to be honest, from what I remember, mum was the youngest.  She was able to get her hair done, as a hairdresser used to visit the hospice.  She also got reflexology sessions, and I think dogs used to come into the hospice also and the patients were allowed to pet them.  There was a little ‘cafĂ©’ where we could go and sit with mum – she’d be in her wheelchair, and we’d sit in the other chairs round in a little huddle.  It was the one time that mum was able to have soft drinks, as I think mainly she just had soup and water, but she used to have some of our coke when we visited, and she would suck up the coke through the straw really quickly because she enjoyed it so much (but then she'd get really gassy!). Conversation was always difficult.  I always was asking about the nurses and the other staff, and what the different uniforms meant – and I wish I had the guts to ask more questions.  There are so many things that I regret."

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