Friday, 3 June 2011

Reflections on a miserable morning...

And so I sit here waiting for the phone call...
I know what will be said, I know who will say it - and yet the shock will overwhelm me...

My Mum and I made an 'agreement' last year - She didn't want me rushing from Australia to Scotland to catch a last glimpse of her tortured self before passing. She wanted to spend time with me while she could still get around, still talk coherently, still enjoy my company and I hers. And so I spent a wonderful six weeks with her and the rest of my family in Scotland last summer.

In the next few hours she'll pass in the company of my three Sisters and my Dad in the quiet of a hospital room in Glasgow. She's a younger elderly person, 72, I feel angry about the very real hell she's been put through in the last few years, a hell that resulted from caring.

Almost all her life she's been a Nurse, doing what she could for elderly patients. One evening it rained outside - and just didn't stop. The build up of water on the hospital roof caused part of the ceiling to collapse - patients were moved around, the area cordoned and bucketed off, Nurses asked to work around it. On the third day when the rain eased, repairmen came to fix the gaping hole - they noticed something - and the ward was immediately evacuated. The ceiling was laced with asbestos.

Twenty years later when they told her 'Mesothelioma', she knew the precise day she breathed the word in.
She's a fighter though - Two days ago my littlest sister asked the consultant if she should be "preparing my Dad for the worst?"
He replied "That was a year ago. Your Mum shouldn't be here now and we don't know why she is."

I love you Mum - I know you always wanted me to put the guitar down and get a 'real job' but I promise when we meet again - you'll be proud.



  1. I'm sure she already is. We are all virtually holding your hand and waiting with you.
    God speed dear heart into the light
    it's time it's time to give up the fight
    spread your wings let your heart take flight
    and fly on fly on into the night.

  2. I'm sure she must be proud of you...My thoughts are with you. I lost my own mom just last summer and I miss her every day.

  3. Oh, Rory, my heart's sore for you...

    I couldn't sleep (got a wisdom tooth out yesterday and it hurts) and thought I'd check in to your blog, expecting your usual wisdom and humour... this is such heartbreaking news. I know it might not feel like it now, but spending last summer with your Mum was the best thing you could have done for her. In years to come, you'll be glad of these happy memories - she's a very wise lady, your Mum.

    Thinking of you with love,


  4. Thanks everyone - My family are still with her and the phone remains silent. I keep getting up 'to do' what I would ordinarily do - and then just slump back into this chair. Hard to get motivated and do anything other than just wait...

    You're right Annie - it was a great time - Headed off to Largs with her on one memorable day but had to race back so she could catch the Bingo in Clydebank - I couldnae believe it - wheelchair and oxygen being hurled into the bingo and she was sharper on the numbers than I was. I had to keep asking 'What did he just call?' and she'd fix my numbers up as well as her own lol...

    Sorry about your toothache Annie - Burns says it best;

    Address to the Tooth-Ache

    My curse upon your venom'd stang,
    That shoots my tortur'd gums alang;
    And thro' my lugs gies mony a twang,
    Wi' gnawing vengeance;
    Tearing my nerves wi' bitter pang,
    Like racking engines!

    When fevers burn, or ague freezes,
    Rheumatics gnaw, or cholic squeezes;
    Our neighbors' sympathy may ease us,
    Wi' pitying moan;
    But thee -- thou hell o' a' diseases --
    They mock our groan!

    Adown my beard the slavers trickle!
    I throw the wee stools o'er the mickle,
    As round the fire the giglets keckle,
    To see me loup;
    While raving mad, I wish a heckle
    Were in their doup.

    O' a' the num'rous human dools,
    Ill har'sts, daft bargains, cutty-stools,
    Or worthy friends rak'd i' the mools,
    Sad sight to see !
    The tricks o' knaves, or fash o' fools,
    Thou bear'st the gree.

    Where'er that place be priests ca' hell,
    Whence a' the tones o' mis'ry yell,
    And rankd plagues their numbers tell,
    In dreadfu' raw,
    Thou, Tooth-ache, surely bear'st the bell
    Amang them a'!

    O thou grim, mischief-making chiel,
    That gars the notes of discord squeel,
    Till daft mankiud aft dance a reel
    In gore a shoe-thick; --
    Gie a' the foes o' Scotland's weal
    A towmond's Tooth-ache!

    Annie - If it was half as bad as Burns makes out - it must have been hell!


  5. Laura - Forgive me please I meant to add in that last comment that I feel for your loss - Burns waylaid me.

    It's a day no one ever wants to arrive but surely it does.

    God bless your Mum Laura.


  6. Rory... I am so sorry. :( My heart goes out to you. Have no doubt... Your mum is very much proud of you, no matter what she may have said. Mums sometimes say funny stuff, but that’s because they worry a lot and simply want what’s best for their sons.

    My mum is currently battling breast cancer for the second time and she’s also having lung issues (she’s going for a bronchial endoscopy next Monday.) I miss her so much. I wish I was there with her during this trying period. :( Distance can be such a b****!!

  7. Rory, yer some man! And typically scottish - I can see the tears through your smiles...

    Your Mum reminds me so much of mine and, sadly, I'm losing her too - she's in the latter stages of alzheimer's - it's such a long goodbye and I miss her with all of my heart.

    Stay strong, Rory, we're all thinking of you.

  8. Thinking of you across the miles. So glad you spent time with her last year. Love the photos you posted.

  9. I really don't think I can say anything that hasn't already been said here, Mr. Rory. She sounds like a very remarkable woman who, more than anything, I think would be very proud to have a remarkable son -- "real" job or not!

    Wishing and praying for strength, peace, and everything you need to get through this difficult time. As for your know, sounds like she might be more worried about you than herself! :)

    Blessed Be,

  10. Thanks everyone. I'm sincerely touched by your kind thoughts. She's still hanging on in there but we've been assured there's no way back this time. It's just a matter of time and that time can be measured in hours or days rather than weeks.

    Annie I feel heart sore for you - I've been blessed that right up until the last - I've been able to talk to her and she's been coherent and happy.

    My thoughts are with you Annie!

    Again, Thank you everyone.

  11. I've no idea what time it is Britain right now - I clean forgot to ask - but at approx 7:30am Brisbane time - My Mum departed us. She died in the same way she lived - fighting for her existence.

    God bless you Mum.

    Love you.


  12. My heart goes out to you and your family. May you find some small comfort in knowing your beloved Mum is finally at rest.