It all started in 2012, I was helping my Mum fix her computer. That’s when I saw an internet tab open which read ‘Survival rates of breast Cancer’ My heart stopped. The world around froze.
In disbelief I said to my Mum, ‘Whats this?’ the look of concern came across as she noticed tears beginning to swell in my eyes. Mum took the computer and saw what I had seen.
She knelt beside me, of course comforting me in her time of need, because that what she did, she always put others before herself.
My shock turned into anxiety, I said to her ‘Are you going to die,’
Ofcourse her reply was ‘No, I’m going to beat this, I’m going to be around for your 21st birthday, your wedding and be there to help with your children.’ As she recited these words of hope tears swelled in her eyes. Mum never cried.
I cant recall if she had the operation first or started treatment first. I will be honest it was all a blur at the start.
When she first started chemo, I went with her, to be hopefully of some comfort to her during this scary time.
I took a deep breath as the chemo started to enter my Mums vein and held her hand tight, delivering her a comforting smile.
After a few chemo appointments, her hair started to fall out, she didn’t want to have patchy hair, so I went with her to get the rest of her hair shaved off. As her hair fell to the ground, I felt like what was will never be again. The walls of comfort, I was so familiar with were falling away just like my Mums beautiful hair.
Mum also went through radiation treatment, she had burns scaled across her chest. I tendered to her burns every day. Changing the bandages, cleaning and drying the wounds so they wouldn’t fester.
We had some good news during this time, after a few cycles of treatments, the specialist said that Mum was in remission. With that joyous news we thought we had gone through the darkness and seen the light again.
I was in Bali in 2014, when I tried calling my Mum. Over a few days I couldn’t reach her. I managed to get in contact with someone back in Melbourne, to whom it was I can’t recall (it was a blur)
I found out that Mum had fallen over and broken her ankle, this isn’t a normal occurrence with my Mum. Dread came over me.
My dread was confirmed, once back in Melbourne.
Mums cancer was back, but this time it was in her brain.
They operated on one but one wasn’t safe to remove.
The only thing that could be done was hope that treatment could shrink it enough to give her a better life for some time.
We were managing quite well with these new circumstances. Until we couldn’t.
We had nurses come to the house every other day to give Mum the care that we couldn’t.
One day the nurse came to me and asked if I could help get Mum out of the shower.
The short walk to the bathroom felt miles away.
Mum and I exchanged a look to one another. Our look said it all. It was time for palliative care.
Whilst Mum was in palliative care, I would visit her everyday and juggle Uni and part time job inbetween. Every day I would help Mum with her dinner.
We would chat, laugh, spend time together and sometimes fall asleep under the same roof like the old days. These are little pockets of happiness that I fondly reflect on.
When things slowly got worse with my Mum, I advised the nurses to call me if there are any changes or if they think she will me passing when I’m not around. As I wanted to be with her. So she wouldn’t been alone.
The last few night my Mum was with us, I stayed over at palliative care, barely leaving her side.
The last night my Mum was with us, my partner slept over too.
He left early in the morning to feed the animals. Shortly after the nurses came in to reposition my Mum. The were in and out within minutes.
After the nurses left, I told my Mum that I needed to go to the bathroom and to not go anywhere. Once I was back, I told my Mum I was back. I sat down.
Moments later my Mum looked at me. I held her hand and she took her last breath.
I wailed. The nurses hear my heart ache echo throughout the room. They came in. Called her time of death at 6am the 11th of February 2015.
I asked the nurses if I could help wash Mum. They said ofcourse.
We washed Mum, dressed her in her clothes. I put lavender talc on her (lavender was a favorite scent of both of ours)
I gave her spritz of perfume and took a couple of flowers from a vase and placed them within my Mums hands.