Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Goodbye mum

So my mum died on Sunday at the age of 96. She seemed healthy enough when I visited her a couple of weeks ago, but an unexpected chain of events led to her going into hospital and dying four days later. There are questions over her death, which followed a fall at her care home, and a post-mortem is to be held. The doctors think she suffered either cardiac arrest or a stroke.

My mum and I were very much chalk and cheese, and we had very different views on all sorts of things, but we always kept in touch. Even when my father banned me from their house for several years, we met in a local pub, where we would sip some slightly alcoholic drinks and swap news. After he died I was able to visit her at home again.

It was sad to see her gradual decline from someone energetic, sharp-witted and curious to someone losing all interest in the outside world and often confused and uncomprehending. Not so long ago she was a keen member of the Ramblers Association and went on long hikes with other members. She went on regular seaside holidays and even a couple of cruises. She kept in touch with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.

But growing physical weakness meant she had to abandon the Ramblers Association. She hadn't been on holiday for a while, no longer bothered to keep up with old friends, and complained increasingly of loneliness.

Since she'd never had any serious illness, and had never had any surgery apart from a tonsillectomy as a child, me and the rest of the family assumed she would reach 100 at least, but it wasn't to be. Fate intervened in disastrous fashion.

Goodbye mum. We knew each other for 71 years and that's quite something.

Pic: St Ives, Cambridgeshire, where my mum was living

PS: The post mortem concluded that she died of a UTI. Extraordinary. I imagine the UTI had been developing for a few days but the care home hadn't realised, and it was only after she was taken to hospital after the fall that the advanced UTI was diagnosed and by that time complications had set in. But we'll be asking some searching questions to find out exactly what happened.

33 comments:

John Gray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ms Scarlet said...

Sorry for your loss, Nick.
Sx

John Gray said...

End of an era
Take care x

chloe said...

Why did you take her to your home and be around especially as she felt alone ?

Bijoux said...

I'm very sorry for your loss, Nick, but glad that you had so much time with her and that she had a full life.

Ramana Rajgopaul said...

My heart felt condolences Nick.

helen devries said...

My condolences on your loss.
The change from an active, engaged person to one who seems to have resigned from that world seems to be common, looking at my mother's friends, and the trigger seems to be a lack of mobility.

nick said...

Chloe: Sorry, I don't understand what you're saying.

Bijoux: She had a very full life. She qualified as a teacher in middle age and absolutely loved teaching.

nick said...

Helen: That makes sense, that the loss of mobility cuts you off from the outside world physically and then you can easily cut off mentally as well. Especially as she never had a computer so couldn't connect with the outside world that way.

Wisewebwoman said...

Sorry for your loss Nick.

XO
WWW

Grannymar said...


A thought of comfort and condolences to you Nick, Jenny and all the family.

tammy j said...

i'm thinking of you Nick.
many thoughts tumbling in your head and heart right now I expect.
love to you and Jenny. xo

Joanne Noragon said...

She left with double hiking sticks, Nick. Zip and off. I saw my friend Jean off, the same way. She didn't even say goodbye. There's a universe to hike; I hope their spirits meet.

Z said...

Equating an attempt to encourage mobility with a diminishing ability to walk and to keep one's balance must be a difficult balance for those running a care home, when a fall can have such disastrous consequences. I'm sorry for your loss, Nick.

nick said...

Grannymar: Thanks. Hope everything's going okay with you.

Tammy: Yes indeed. Lots of memories of my mum going round my head. I especially remember her once brisk, determined stride which gradually gave way to a sort of hesitant shuffle. Very sad.

nick said...

Joanne: That stirs up a wonderful image of her hiking energetically through heaven with all her old Rambler pals!

Z: That's true, I hadn't thought of that. Apparently she fell out of bed while trying to use her commode and that's when something went badly wrong. We're awaiting the result of the post mortem.

CheerfulMonk said...

Best wishes to you and Jennie. I'm glad your mother was happy in the nursing home until almost the end, and that the end came quickly for her. Hopefully our own demises won't be painful and prolonged. Fingers crossed.

kylie said...

I'm sorry about your loss, Nick

nick said...

Jean: She was much happier in the care home than she was in her own flat. I think she was relieved to have all the everyday responsibilities taken away from her.

nick said...

Scarlet, John, Ramana, Wise Web Woman, Kylie: Thanks for your condolences.

Polly said...

Oh Nick, I'm so sorry for the loss of your mum. I'm glad you visited her a couple of weeks ago. Sounds like she had a full and happy life, a good way to remember her.

nick said...

Polly: Thanks. She did have a full and happy life until the last few years when she suffered a gradual physical and mental decline.

John Gray said...

" Chloe" that was the nastiest thing I have ever read from you and that's saying something
You are a real bitch .......

nick said...

If Chloe is suggesting I could have taken her into my own home, that would have been impractical for several reasons. In particular she was very frail and needed professional care and attention 24/7.

John Gray said...

That's exactly what the rancid cow was eluding to

Secret Agent Woman said...

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that Nick. No matter the differences, it's hard to lose a parent.

nick said...

Agent: It is. She was so much a part of my life, despite our constant bemusement with each other.

Jenny Woolf said...

Condolences on your mum's death, even if someone is old it is a shock. I know that UTIs can be a tremendous problem in older people, I have never quite figured out why. It can cause them to have mental symptoms too, usually temporary though I believe. I am glad that you managed to keep in touch with your mum despite your differences.

Joared said...

Thinking of you, as whatever the relationship, the loss of a parent can present a myriad number of feelings. Do take good care of yourself as these days unfold.

nick said...

Jenny: Thanks. Yes, I gather UTIs can be quite serious for the elderly. And mental confusion is one of the known symptoms of a possible UTI. But we're still stunned that she went downhill so rapidly.

Joared: Thanks. I would have been a lot more upset if she had died at a relatively early age. As it was, she'd had a very long and happy life and it was no tragedy that she died when she did.

Liz Hinds said...

I am sorry, Nick, but I'm glad she enjoyed her life.

nick said...

Liz: Thanks. She had enjoyed her life, but increasing mental and physical frailty was a daily burden.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I do remember being told that a UTI was, in fact, a kind way for someone elderly to go, though that won't be of much comfort to you now.
You can be glad that you had a loving relationship and she was always happy to see you. May she rest in peace.