The Hardest Thing I Ever Had to Do


Looking at the stuff in my ‘Drafts’ folder of the blog and I found this!
I thought I’d posted it ages ok! So I’ll do it now. My mam will be 8 years gone on March 16th 😦

This is another post based on one of the random titles I was given to write about – testing my ability to write ‘on demand’.
The title ‘The Hardest Thing I’ve ever had to do’ was suggested by Karen Mulreid

I have a Top 5 list of the most special times in my life. The hardest thing I ever had to do comes right in the middle of one of those times. It was, saying goodbye to my mother.

The 2/3 weeks previous to that were painful but wonderful. I came home from the UK as mam was sick and spent the next couple of weeks with my 7 siblings, going in and out of the hospital. We laughed and cried and ate together. Some of my fave things to do 🙂 Not all of us could see her at once so we’d go in and out in small groups while others waited outside.

At times it was awful! As she was on a ventilator, she couldn’t speak. So communication was an issue. But then we would end up in fits of laughter cos we’d try to work out what she was saying and when we got it wrong she’d be throwing her eyes to heaven. We started to call her Lassie at one stage.

She didn’t want us to bother the nurses. Even when there was something wrong or she was uncomfortable I’d offer to get someone and she’d stop me. I was not to trouble them.

I had the odd moment alone with her. It got to the stage she was deteriorating and was always heavily sedated. I sat by her bed alone and very quietly sang a tearful version of John Rutter’s setting of Numbers 6: 24-26 as she slept.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” I knew it was the beginning of my goodbye.

Betty Keeley – my mammy 🙂

On the day she died we gathered around her bed with my dad, and one by one I watched my siblings say goodbye. As crushing as it is even now to think about it, I feel privileged that we were together. I am thankful that we didn’t have to watch her suffer for years or deteriorate slowly needing more and more care. Not everyone gets to say goodbye like that… or at all. I know how totally blessed we are to have that. So we said goodbye and when she feel asleep for the last time we moved out to let her own siblings and then her grandchildren come in and say goodbye.

For the next two weeks we were all together. We brought her home and we spent time with family, friends and neighbours and we laughed and cried and laughed again. It really was an amazing time.

Losing my mammy – wow! so painful, even now, more than 7 years later! I thank God that the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is surrounded by weeks of joy, laughter and family.
What a privilege!

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