Monday, 1 October 2012

The Flame Has Finally Died

Apologies for the long gap since my last post. When I left you, my mother had just been admitted to a local hospice. It is where she wanted to go, having seen how they cared for my dad in his last few days and she had been getting herself ready mentally for a while to make the journey. She realised it was a one way trip and that she wouldn't be coming home again.

She had entered on Wednesday September 12th which spookily enough was her wedding anniversary. I'm certain she must have known that. The first weekend I spent visiting she was remarkably lucid, bright as a button and fully with it. Her spirit was strong and it was just the body that was weak. However by the following weekend she was a different woman. She barely woke up during the four hours my wife and I stayed and she didn't look like my mum at all.

I got the phone call I'd been dreading in work last Tuesday to say she had got worse and that if I wanted to see her one last time it was best I got to the hospice as quickly as I could. For those that have been in my position they hospice had put her on the Liverpool Care Pathway which is basically the final stages. This can last a few hours or anything up to 72 hours and in essence the patient is given pain relief and while they are not sedated as such, they aren't awake although they can hear voices and will respond with eye movements etc. Having stayed until 2.30am Wednesday morning and with my mum still having a strong pulse and breathing well we were sent home.

We returned midday on Wednesday and I think everyone knew this was the day. When the end did come it was remarkably quick and peaceful. The breathing just slowed and shallowed and at 3.50pm just stopped and she was gone. The staff at the hospice throughout her stay had been second to none but they excelled in our moment of grief and were there to wipe the tears and guide us through the immediate aftermath.

To be honest I had been prepared for the inevitable for a while and can count myself lucky that I had all that time on the Tuesday and again on the Wednesday to say everything I wanted to and be at peace with the outcome. It has actually been a relief in many ways and I'm no longer worrying every time the phone goes or calling every night hoping she hasn't had a day of pain or discomfort.

I am not ready to get back out onto the course just yet and the blogs may be sporadic for a while longer but I just wanted to update you and explain my absence. The funeral is on the 12th October and there is plenty of stuff to be done at the house, with the solicitors and arranging her send off so golf is still on the back burner. I've had a range session tonight which was better than it could have been. I'm still suffering from jangled nerves after the European team's heroic performance at Medinah last night and the late finishes over the three days haven't helped depleted energy reserves.

I said I was prepared but I guess you are never fully ready for that final moment but I'll take comfort in the serenity of it and the fact she was in a place she wanted to be in and was surrounded by her family. I can think of far less appealing ways to finish my time.

From a slightly selfish viewpoint at least I will start to get my weekends back as I won't be making the long trip up to care for her, visit her in hospital, shop or arrange care and medical packages. Golf will be a wonderful escape valve for me and I'm sure it'll continue to frustrate and annoy me but somehow after the passing of my mum, maybe it isn't all consuming. She was the type of woman who would never shower you with praise but you knew on the inside she was as proud as only a mother could be. I'm down to play in a Golf Monthly Day at Woburn next year on March 27th. It would have been her birthday and you know what, I've a feeling she will give me the sort of guidance and motivation Seve gave the European team in the singles. I feel a low, winning performance on the cards.

And there you have it. Death comes to us all and no one is exempt. I hope you'll bear with me a little longer on here and when I come back continue to support my ramblings and thoughts on all things golf.

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