To say that the last three to four months have been grim is to understate it somewhat. On 13 December last year, in the middle of the night, Dad had a cardiac arrest and, being Dad, did nothing about it until the next morning when finally he was rushed to hospital. He died a week later of another heart attack, on 21 December.
Yesterday morning, Colorado time, I got a text from my sister saying Mum had been rushed to hospital with breathing problems that afternoon, UK time. Mum was looking for a warden-controlled flat near my sister’s and my sister was driving her over to view some. Apparently Mum had woken up feeling ‘sick’. After a couple of hours, they decided that Mum was feeling better and set off. They’d just joined the M6 when Mum complained of not being able to breathe. Nicola pulled into the next Motorway Services and phoned an ambulance. Mum was going white. Apparently, she stopped breathing altogether in the ambulance, only to restart again.
In the hospital, she was put in the Cardiac Care unit, since it was obvious she’d had a cardiac arrest at some point in time. Although, during that afternoon, she seemed to get better, by about midnight it was obvious that the medications weren’t working. Her kidneys had packed it in, she was still having difficulty breathing. She was taken off the meds and put on morphine to help with the breathing. Palliative care, in other words. She slept. On the occasions she woke, she didn’t seem to know where she was or what was happening or who anyone was, including Nicola. She’s fading.
Although she made it through the night and today (as I write this it’s 7pm in England), there is no hope. Nicola is by her bedside in the hospital simply waiting for her to die. I’m just waiting by my phone for the news. There’s no way for me to get there in time to say goodbye (the earliest I’d make it would be in about 24 hours’ time), not that she would recognize me anyway.
I thought I’d post a photo of them both on their wedding day in remembrance. It was a cold damp day at St Paul’s Church, Foleshill Road, Coventry, that Saturday, 5 November 1955. The church’s front door looks forbidding in this photo, but maybe it’s because it’s in black and white. Dad was 22, Mum had just turned 27. They are a handsome couple and Mum looks radiant.
I miss them both.