Passed away

fog street

Funny term “dead”. It’s very hard to say. I have had a lot of phone calls over the last week. I found it very hard to say “My mother’s dead”. It hurt and didn’t seem quite right. Too blunt and harsh.

I heard my brother use “passed away”, and I have started using it. It seems less harsh, like nothing had really happened.

“My mother passed away”. It sounds like she passed through a door. She left the building. Moved away.

“My mother passed away”. I saw her.

She hadn’t opened her eyes for a couple of days. Following a major stroke and then a heart attack a couple of days later, she just lay there struggling for air. She took large gulps and then would stop breathing all together for about a minute or so. Then abruptly, she would draw deeply on the air in the room and fight for air.

The doctors had told us she wouldn’t last long. The quite between her breaths lasted longer and longer. Her breathing was more laboured.

The nurses came in and removed her oxygen mask; “it’s having no effect” they told us. They removed her feeding tube; “her systems are shutting down one by one”. Still she gasped for air, her eyes closed.

Then all of a sudden, it was quiet. She open her eyes wide. Her head lifted from the pillow, and she looked about the bed at all present. She said her goodbye, closed her eyes and then died/passed away.

My father cried like he was about to drown in a sea of tears. They would have been married 60 years in December.

My mother passed away a week ago. I don’t know what it is like without her yet.