Stubborn

As stubborn as she was in life, she is stubborn in death.  
She is a fighter … Born of a childhood from an aggressive father and an abusive first husband. And she is fighting death in favour of life with each rasping, gurgling breath. 
Her ‘Death Rattle’ is killing me more than it is her. At times so unbearable I have to cover my ears and bury my face in my arms. Each time she chokes all three of us squeeze her hands tighter, stroke her head and say ‘we’re all here…we’ve got you, Mummy’.
There is no lesson in this experience, nothing to prepare you… Only the experience itself. Nothing on the internet comes close – I have tried to read up on what to expect…. There is nothing graphic enough to describe the sights, sounds and smells…. 
Time passes. Sometimes slowly. Sometimes flies. It reminds me of childbirth and labour… 
We pass the time, Bambi is colouring, Dad does Soduko in between coffee and tea runs. I read that the last thing to go is hearing… So we chat about nothing. I read out articles in the Sunday Times, read her Wogan’s eulogy from the BBC news website. She loved Wogan. We do the crossword together, friends arrive to share memories and hold her hand… 
The tension in the air is mounting and the tension in my back and shoulders intensifies… The sitting and the anticipation.. 
In my head I am telling her to do what is best for her… To let go. Out loud I tell her to be brave… Bambi tells her not to be frightened…. We tell her we love her, that we will be fine. We kiss her hands, we kiss her face. 
In one horrendous moment, as the nurse drops the full cylinder of bile sucked up through tubes from her mouth and throat, mum has a fit, gags, chokes and Bambi and I plead with her… Go. Just go. Tears flow from our eyes and one solitary one falls from hers….
But she breathes on…. A fighter. Stubborn to the end. 
  

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