Written on Tuesday, 18th September 2018:
On the 8th September 2018 my mother’s physical journey ended. Where death for me has always come with a fear of nothingness, what her passing taught me is that the end of a physical existence is just the beginning of new existence. One in which the spirit and energy of a person is free from the confines of their physical form.
Tomorrow I, along with my family and friends, will gather together to attend a service planned to allow the people whose lives my mother has touched in some way to say goodbye to my mother’s body, the vessel that carried the soul of a warrior into her final battle.
Called in on a Monday morning to spend what we were told could be our final hours with mum we began a journey with our mother that lasted six days. Perhaps the six longest days of my life so far.
My mother was thrifty, and creative. She could create something from nothing, and always worked hard to provide anything that we required. So when she was given hours, she somehow managed to find days. Those days were long but she was never alone. Those of us that were with her ensured that in her final days she was constantly surrounded in love. Her family, and friends around the world prayed for her, loved her, and thought of her. Strangers who had never met her, heard of her and asked to pray, and to share her story. The story of The Battle of Room Seven.
Although the illness which took her into her final battle came suddenly, my mother’s health had been in decline for a while. Small things at first, things which we passed off as inconvenient, but which mum would never directly complain about.
As was her way my mother put the needs of her family first. This was her way in life, and so to was it her way in death.
With each day that passed in that bloody week, we struggled to come to terms with what we were being told. After the first two days of watching her fight so hard, I had to ask. I had to hear the words be said and so I spoke to a nurse and asked her to tell me what I needed to hear.
“Your mother is dying. She isn’t going to get better. She doesn’t have long left.”
The nurse who said these words said them because I asked to hear them. It didn’t make it easier, but it allowed me to change my thinking. To begin to process what was actually happening rather than what we wanted to happen.
We prayed of course for a miracle, but miracles come few and far between. To have shared a moment with Thilda was to experience the miracle of her generosity, of her kindness, of her ability to love indiscriminately and unconditionally. As a close family, I have the luxury of a lifetime of memories with my mum and I hold each memory dearly now.
As hours stretched into days, mum’s transition from physical to spiritual became a testament to ‘The Beautiful Warrior’. A woman who championed those she fought for.
I asked my mum a number of times throughout the years to tell me what made her happy. Her reply was always the same,
“I am happiest when you are happy.”
This was my mum’s way. To live for others and in particular to live for her family. As her final battle drew to an end, I was struck with a moment of clarity. The fight, the bold and bloody fight which my mum had put up so far had never been a fight to get better. It was instead a fight to be with the people she loved for every last second she could be. Each breath in and out a gift to us, to give us the time we needed to come to terms with what was about to happen.
During the whole week my mum was unconscious. Though she was surrounded in love. Love which transcended the physical environment she was in, and surrounded us all. Keeping us strong, and protecting us in this time before we say goodbye.
Mum’s last week with us was a powerful one. One in which myself and all of her family members learned about ourselves and each other. Even in death my mother brought us together, creating bonds that ensured we would always have people to surround us in love when our time comes.
Losing mum feels like losing a part of ourselves. It is a living nightmare from which we can never wake. The loss of such a profoundly wonderful person has affected so many people, but what I have learned about my mother since she passed is that she has given so much in her short time on earth.
Solace comes from the memories and love she gave and left us with. I treasure not just my own memories of The Beautiful Warrior, but those shared by the people whose lives she touched. Memories which keep her with us, until we see her next.