I am in Auburn again this weekend, spending time with dad and thinking about mum, who died 12 years ago yesterday. I remember her last days so well. She was at home for all but the last two days, and it was a special, tender time. She was a very loving person – and her words and tiny actions of that time reflected that hugely. She spent a lot of time resting of course with her eyes closed. When I would go in and touch her arm to let her know I was there, she’d say “Darling!” in this most eager voice. She loved kisses too, and we had a little game where I’d ask how many kisses she’d like. She’d say a number (‘4’ or ‘6 of the best’ or whatever) and I’d give them to her. In those last days she took to saying she wanted ‘a billion’ (or even ‘a billion billion’). I’ve always thought, as a consequence, that I am still getting kisses from her, every day – it takes a long time to do 1000000000++ kisses!!
She had some lovely moments with dad too, who, after years of being traditionally ‘looked after’, and doing very little around the house, really stepped up to the plate when mum became ill. His care and ongoing presence meant that she could stay at home, which was so important to her. At the end of what turned out to be her last full day at home they had a particularly special exchange which I witnessed. Mum was ready for bed and dad came in for his goodnight to her. She said (as she did each night), ‘thanks for all you’ve done for me today Ric’ and added, ‘Thanks for everything. You’ve been just wonderful’. Dad said, in response, ‘No worries Rose. It’s easy ’cause it’s you.’
That time doesn’t leave me, or the love and care either. It was lovely to visit the hill where some of her ashes are scattered. There was a misty rain, and everything looked soft and damp. I’ll take dad out today. He was ensconced at home watching the races on the tv, in the midst of a little tipping competition he does with my brother each Saturday. They each pick horses from the local races and he records the results, and he didn’t want to miss one!. I joined in yesterday and picked horses too. When I was got back from the hill there’d been one race, which my horse won. It was called ‘Mum’s my hero’!