Rest in Peace

Last night my mother passed on. And at the moment I am still processing it all but want to add some thoughts before I head off to work. I have been mulling over this post for a long time though, and now that the time has come to write it I don’t know what to say. 

Mum and her parents

She was born in 1928,  the fifth child of six in the family, and the 3rd daughter. As a child she lived in Bethlehem with her family and was educated there and had her formative years there. Bethlehem was a railway town and they all lived in railway houses close to the station (aka The Railway Camp) . She had a hard life as money was scarce, jobs were poorly paid and to crown it all  and the world was preparing itself for another world wide cataclysm. I do not know the circumstances behind how she met my father, but they married in Port Elizabeth in 1954 and my brother was born there in 1955. They moved to Johannesburg a few years later and I was born in that city in 1961. 

A lifetime passed, punctuated by the death of her husband on 7 November 1981, which unfortunately was also her birthday.  By 1985 the 3 of us had all gone in different directions, although we were generally in visiting distance and my brother and I spent Sunday mornings with her right up till I left for the UK in 2013. She moved into a small council run complex many years ago and stayed there for 23 years until ill health and her increasing inability to take care of herself resulted in us having to put her into frail care in 2017. I saw her in 2017 and again in February of 2019 and to be honest knew that the inevitable was close. Sadly she was a prisoner in her own body by 2017 and had become increasingly belligerent and bitter. Putting her in frail care was not an easy decision to make, but we had no other choice. She was unable to live on her own anymore. She was a widower for longer than she was married.

Naturally all manner of questions go through your mind when you have an elderly parent who ends up in her situation, and there is an element of guilt involved. Did we make the right choice? it was our only choice, there were no other options. Was she happy there? she admitted that she hated it, but then she did not want to be there in the first place and had been angry since before we had her taken into frail care. The guilt will remain I am afraid. 

However, her life has passed, and she was the last of her siblings to pass on. I hope that she is re-united with her family and husband and that she finds peace away from the suffering and never ending days trapped in her body. The strange thing is that my brother and I have known that it was inevitable, it was just a question of when. Now that it is over I think we both need closure.

A service will be held for her on either the 18th of this month and I will be flying down for the service. I said my goodbyes in February already and I knew I would never see her alive again. My brother says she died peacefully of natural causes, and was taken care of until it was no longer needed. 

Rest in Peace Mum. The pair of us left behind will carry on until our turn comes and then we will join you I hope, although I expect you will have a few words to say about us being late. And if you see Dad tell him that we missed him, just like you did. 

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