I have been to a very dark place. A place with low lighting, shallow breaths and holding a cold thin hand. Where nurses come with pain killing injections and sympathetic hands on your shoulder before they disappear again. A place where the all the much-loved pets, usually so giddy and loud, lie silently curled up on the bed.
I know she could hear every single word. I know this because of the direct eye contact and last huge smile when I told her about Grace’s new pink bedroom.
Memories push their way into my mind of my childhood: I was surrounded by family. Grandparents around the corner. Aunts, uncles and cousins too just a few minutes away. A mothers cuddle. A fathers doting attention. I think of us all on a sort of island: a patch of land that was my little word, my family. Now I can only stand in the centre and watch as the perimeters slowly crumble and those I love drop away from me.
Please . . . no more.
It is both a privilege and a deeply haunting experience to be with someone in the last moments of their life. I am glad I had the chance to tell her I love her, and thank her for everything she’s done: for all the times she was there for me, and the times were many. I am glad I could do this one last thing for her. I am glad she waited for me.
After she had been taken away by the funeral home, I sat on the end of the now empty bed, like I always did when we analysed some trashy reality show together, and watched the coal fire as it still burned. Her little dog is lost. I am lost. Others are lost. The world will be that bit darker without her light.
And I am still in a dark place. I have to revel in the joy of my baby girl, and hope that my own little family, along with time and tears will heal me, and that slowly, the horrors and the images of this halloween will fade and light will slowly filter back. I will tell Grace, as promised to someone very special, that Aunty H is watching over her from the very brightest star in the sky, and hope that she retains a memory of her.
I will miss her with all my heart.
Say Hello to Mum for me xxx