All Heart

It feels like I am living in a bubble .

A very surreal bubble.

There is life going on all around me… everyone living as normal.


My life as I know it, has stopped.  It is one step removed from reality.  I know it is going on… I am just not in it.  My Sandwich Life is totally one sided… one slice only.


My life exists in Room 40, The Heights, where today it was like Groundhog Day.


Dad was reading the paper, doing his Soduku.

We did the Times crossword …

We coloured in a beautiful tree with owls in.. and an English garden.

We reminisced over many holidays, places we had been, our favourites…our funny memories.

We tell her many times how much we love her and how grateful we are to her..

We finished watching The Thomas Crown Affair – Mum loved Pierce Brosnan.

Dear and true friends of my Mum came to visit, providing amazing support to us all.

We had a picnic bedside lunch but popped home for a break and some hot food at supper time, before heading back to our vigil.

Mum is wearing pink, eyes unresponsive, supine, mouth open,  limp limbed, skeletal.


But there are small, significant changes.


There is a noticeable calm in the room.

The Death Rattle has gone.

The choking and gagging has stopped.

The tubes and Flaem machine have been removed.

The lights are kept dim.

Her fever has gone, but so too has the colour in her face.

Her breathing is shallow, panting… and twice, Bambi and I had to stare hard to see if it had stopped.

Many nurses and carers came to see ‘lovely Annie’.. visibly shocked at her sudden decline.

Rather than checking her airways they are checking her oxygen levels and the colour of her feet.


As I get in to bed, as I have done for the last 3 nights, I anticipate being woken up by the phone call in the middle of the night…


As I get in to bed, I allow my head to fill with images and thoughts of the other slice of the Sandwich.  My boys. My Big Man.  I miss them.  I feel guilty when I think of them.  Guilty that I am here and not there, to take them to school, to let the Big Man focus on his career.


As I get in to bed, I let the guilt wash over me, for there is nowhere I could be, would rather be than in this surreal bubble.  A surreal bubble to say my goodbye to my Mum, my original family and to support each other through the end of this chapter of our lives.


As I get in to bed, I think of my Mum’s strong heart.  She loved fiercely my Mum.  If she loved you, she didn’t just love you a little, she loved you wholeheartedly, with her whole heart.  As her daughter, I am allowed to say that sometimes it was stifling… She rarely exercised (gardening was her exercise she said)… Her heart was the muscle she used most…


As I get in to bed, I wonder whether that is why it is so strong now in death..   The rest of her is gone… just her heart pumping on and on and on… She is and was all heart.

2 thoughts on “All Heart

  1. You are doing great, Ali. Stay close if you possibly can.

    When my family were losing my dad a year ago, we were all called to the hospital to spend his last hours with him. We were there all day and into the evening, then I went home because I felt guilty for being away from my children, and I thought dad would be able to hang on until I returned the next morning.

    It wasn’t to be – he left us at 3 minutes past midnight. I’d also missed the half hour of lucidity he awoke into not long after I’d left (he was out-of-it and unaware we were there for the whole day). I often think back on this with sadness and regret, because the kids would have been fine.

    I’m sure your mum would be so very proud of you all for being with her xx


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