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Change isn’t just the growing up of life; it’s also the slowing down of life.
A face I’ve known for sixteen years was changing; seeing it as a blur I thought of her all fresh, young and happy; full of life and hope. She raised me strong through the years however now she was shattering my heart and getting me weaker and weaker.
Her face once golden and peachy; was now washed out and drained; her big shiny eyes now unresponsive and gloomy. The arms that supported me through my life are now weak and cold. My mother’s voice…like a defenceless animal, she does not speak. Yet I know she’s silently speaking to me.
The smell of the room is sickly; I can’t get the smell of death out of my head. My mother’s machine is noisy all the time whilst I watch her, I wonder when it will stop beeping, and will my heart stop beating? The walls of this room are plain white; parts of it are turning yellow with old age. Many of the changes I spot in this world.
I cannot explain my emotions at this time. Whilst I sit in this white room staring at my dying mother all I can think of is why her? Why did my mum have to battle cancer, why did our family have to deal with this? Why could cancer not exist?! Earlier today the nurses had gone through the talk with me, saying how they think its time my mother said goodbye. Yes, they wanted to turn the machines off, the machines that were keeping my mother alive! How dare they give up on my mum. Yet mostly, what I can’t bare to think of, is how my dad suggested it.
Nevertheless I can’t disagree with their reasoning of turning off my mother’s machine. However as I’ve said, what breaks my heart is that my dad doesn’t seem upset anymore. Anybody would think he’s the dying parent; he’s become extremely thin and weak, I hardly see much of him anymore, he doesn’t even visit the hospital much. When mother was first diagnosed with cancer my dad cried everyday, he stood at her side, supported her and stayed strong. Though as the months went by and my mother stayed in hospital my dad changed, he became quiet and unsociable and emotionless. I often wondered if it was because of me. I started seeing a therapist and she told me it was not rare for someone with cancers partner to become like this. However I could not come to terms with my dads personality change. He loved my mother; they’ve been together for over twenty five years, inseparable from the first day, but I guess people change and can so feelings. His words to me last night were “Olivia, one of the hardest parts of life is deciding whether to walk away or try harder; we tried hard with your mother, we really did…but sometimes...y-y-you just have to accept the worst and just walk away from it all.”
It was three in the afternoon on a Sunday; I’d been here for six hours and was getting fidgety. Just as I was about to get up I heard a familiar voice, they handed me a photo album, I looked up and it was my uncle Joe.
“Why don’t you share some memories with your mother, eh?” His warm bright eyes and comforting smile, just like mothers used to be, were enough to brighten me up. I moved closer to my mother, a little step each time; each step seemed like a thousand and it was like I’d never reach her. The doctors had just dosed her up on some strong drugs, she was coming around. For yet another change in my mum today, she was always changing from drowsy to active and then back again. The left eye flicked and twitched; slowly opening, her eyes were red and swollen and she struggled to look at me. “Olivia”, she whispered slowly. I perched myself on the bed next to her, she was too weak to put her arms around me; so I done it for her. “Look mum”, I said to her pointing at the brown bended old photo album, “You made this remember?” She gave a slight nod to say yes. I opened the first page; I was scared though, I wasn’t sure what I’d feel.
As soon as I saw three happy people smiling at the camera it felt as if a big apple had got stuck in my throat. A mummy and daddy and a little girl. My mind went back to the story of the three bears and I felt deflated already, and I was only on the first page! Could I even do this to my mother? To show her what she used to be? How cancer and her other health problems had changed everything, maybe this was a bad idea. Uncle Joe gave me a light nod as to carry on though; so I did. Together my mother and I looked at all the pictures, as if years and years were just displayed in a small photo album. There were pictures of us all cuddling, healthy and happy; as if nothing would ever change; pictures from holidays and family gatherings. My mother looked so…different. To be honest though so did my dad, mothers changes were slow and gradual and expected; however my dad’s were sudden and shocking.
After we’d looked through the album my mother looked at me; a look that I hadn’t seen from her in ages, it was like she was healthy again. She gave me direct eye contact and with more energy in her voice said “Olivia darling, I am very proud of you. I love you, and don’t ever forget that.” My heart fluttered like a million butterflies searching for flowers. I thought my mum looked a lot better, was she actually going to recover? Her face started to glow and she looked happy; I told her I loved her and we had a moments hug.
People cry, not because they’re weak. It’s because they’ve been strong for too long.
My mother died in that moment. She did not die in that bed, she did not die in my heart, but she peacefully died in my arms and was still alive in my heart. I cried, not just a silent sorry cry, I screamed; I screamed and cried until my throat could bear no more. I was shocked, shocked that she died in that moment when I thought she looked like she was recovering. At least she died peacefully and happily, with her smile still on her face; perhaps her cancer chose the right moment to destroy her. Also knowing that she died herself; at the time she was ready, rather than the doctor ending my mother’s life through a machine.
I took a long steady look at her. I was content; I love my mother and are very proud of her, she’d raised me up and always fort strong, I couldn’t have asked for a better mother. Knowing it was all over was a relief, I didn’t have the anxiety and stress of going to the hospital each day and night; thinking is she still alive? Now my mind was at peace and I’m sure hers was. I felt my mothers hand and it was quite cold; I held it for another ten minutes and said my final goodbye to her, kissing her pale face and stoking the only hair that was on her head from the chemo-therapy.
What hurt deeply was the fact that my dad was not here to witness the death of his wife. Slowly I felt angry, I felt a change in my feelings towards my dad, something I have nether had in me. I thought he was really selfish and I have lost a lot of respect for him. My mother loved him, some twenty five years they have been together; they had a strong love, like soul mates, yet it changed and I almost hate him for it. The love of his life has just died and he might not even care. What I worry about is that maybe he’s found someone to replace mum, and I could NEVER accept that.
Through it all I have seen my family change and I also. I’ve experienced new emotions and feelings, I’ve also become stronger however weaker in areas. The only thing I know will not change is the feelings towards my mother and also the memories; you cannot change the past.
My dad has arrived at the hospital; and you will never guess what. He has a woman with him. This time my heart fluttered with a thousand dying butterflies finding a thorn on a rose. I never wanted to see my dad again; I don’t care about any of his reasons, I simply could not face him and his new girlfriend which coincidently looked like the “healthy version of my mother”. I felt like my heart had shattered to pieces, I didn’t even look at him; ran right past him and his “girlfriend” and just cried to my uncle Joe.
I hate this change in my life. It’s been a big world turning change and I will never officially get over the grief and pain of my mother’s death and the change in my dad. My dad was obviously desperate for a new wife, and that’s when I realised, blood isn’t always thicker than water.