The Last Goodbye?

This is a much more personal post than I usually put on the blog, but I need to share my thoughts with the wider world as a kind of cathartic release. I’m saying this up-front so you can decide whether to carry on reading.

Still here? Thank you. I’ll start with the facts. My mum is dying of cancer. The doctors think she probably has 2 - 3 weeks left, possibly a bit more, possibly less. I could get a phone call before I finish writing this sentence to say it is all over for her.

Mum has always been someone to hide when she’s unwell, in pain, or just hungover after one too many whiskeys the night before. She won’t say she’s in pain but she doesn’t have to, it’s written in her eyes and her voice.

She doesn’t want to go into a hospice as she’d rather see out the time at home. That’s her choice and all we can do as a family is honour her wishes and try to keep her comfortable. Around her we keep the talk positive and hold normal family conversations, though I’m not sure if this is for her benefit or ours.

When my dad died (many years ago now) that was a quick, unexpected, end. With mum the family is having time to come to terms with it. This makes it a different kind of grieving, one stretched out, with the person we are grieving over still here, with a little life still in them.

Nobody wants to see those they love in pain so, in that way, it will be a relief for it all to be over. I think she deserves to bow off the stage gracefully, so my hope is that the end comes in a quiet, dignified manner.

Whenever I see mum I wonder if this is the last time I’ll speak to her. When I say “see you tomorrow” I wonder if I really will. How do you say goodbye without saying goodbye?


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