Monday, July 4, 2011


It was my mother's 71st birthday today.  She is dying.  On June 13, I was told it was a matter of weeks.  She has survived precisely three weeks.

We gathered at her hospital for afternoon tea.

I choked on the "happy" of the birthday song and lip-synch'd the rest. No-one was up for 'hip-hoorays'.   I arranged a cake (among other savoury and sugary treats).  No-one appeared to notice the missing third 'e' of Beverley.  Mum was always a stickler for that. Her sisters too.  Its significance paled by the fragile retreat of the person we have loved in to and then out of a body given over to cancer.

My brother called from Sydney.  It didn't go well.  He spent the next half-hour dispatching distressed texts.  He couldn't understand a word she'd said (of which there were very few), except for, "Is that you, Kevin?"

Not his name.


Belle de Ville said...

I am so sorry to read this about your mother. She is so young at 71. I hope that her eventual passing is pain free and peace full.

Kara said...

So sorry to read this, very sad. Enjoy time with your mum, Kara x

Nicola said...

M, you put such effort into marking the day for Bev, and I am sure that the girls, Mabel and in her heart, your mum, appreciated this. She has indeed managed to survive the past 3 weeks, but she has also managed not only to survive- but to live since being told her time was short more than a year ago. She has been strong, determined, fortunate, supported and loved. You have been central in this. You have travelled a difficult journey with grace - I am proud of you both.
Now you my friend need a hug, a walk and a me when you are ready. xo N

Jo said...

Michelle....I am so very sorry to hear your news. My thoughts are with YOU and your family at this very difficult time. Take comfort knowing that YOU have been giving amazing support, comfort and unconditional love to your Mum Bev when most needed. I trust that these words can give YOU some comfort too. Take care of yourself while on this most trying journey....wrapping my arms around you all from afar...Jo T

Tania Kindersley said...

Michelle - just caught up with yr blog and saw your lovely comment on mine. So sorry to hear this incredibly sad news. Should be able to give you perfect bereavement advice on account of my dad, but actually I'm not sure I have much. Day at a time; go gently; get the love where you can; plant a tree. It DOES get better, but it also goes on being really hard. I find myself learning to adjust to a season of sadness. Oh, and some people WILL say really, really weird things. In the same way, some people you might not expect will surprise you by just being absolutely bloody brilliant. Sending you great sympathy across the oceans. Tania x

Michelle Trusttum said...

Belle - thank you so much. She is on morphine so the pain is fairly well controlled. It does make communication a bit tricky tough. And yes, 71 is too young. x

Kara - we will, and thank you. x

Nick - you made me cry. And as odd as this may sound, thank you, thank you. x

Jo - thank you so much and hug gratefully received. x

Tania - you are so very kind, and I am so pleased to find you here. It means a lot to me. Thank you. x

Steerforth said...

I'm so sorry that you're having such a distressing and heartbreaking time.

I will be thinking of you over the coming weeks, as will a lot of people around the world.

Michelle Trusttum said...

Steerforth - a belated thank you for your kindness. It was lovely of you to comment.