Ever since I started writing about Mum’s illness, part of my brain must have known that I would have to write this post at some point, but it doesn’t make it any easier to write.
At lunchtime yesterday, Mum passed away. It was very quick and Dad was by her side.
Dad rang me at uni. Even though I knew as soon as I saw his name on my phone screen, and even though I’d known this was coming, it doesn’t make it any less of a surprise. Mum seemed a little better the night before – if not better, at least the same as the previous night, a stark difference from the rest of the week where she seemed to deteriorate noticeably every 24 hours.
A week or so ago I arranged for someone to contact a list of people who needed to know, and thankfully the whole system worked seamlessly. Within 5/10 minutes I had two welfare tutors in my room until a family friend came to take me home. My college have been amazing.
Yesterday afternoon, I walked into the lounge to see Mum for the last time. She was lying asleep on the bed. I put my hands under the duvet, found her hand, and held it, stroking her fingers like I did the night before. Holding the hand that held mine for the last 21 years. It was still warm. I put my head on the duvet and cried. Before I left, I stroked her hair and kissed her forehead just like she used to do for me whenever I was upset. It was cold.
Everything feels in slow motion today. I’m trying to remember the steps that people take each day in order to function. I keep catching myself sitting, or standing, thinking of nothing – but I’m doing okay.
I’m lucky to have an incredible bunch of people around me who are offering hugs, wise words and hot orange squash. I miss my Mum. Normally when something this upsetting happens, it’s her who I’d go to.
It has been a long 3 years since Mum was first diagnosed with cancer, and an even longer 18 months since she was diagnosed as terminal. We now have a long road ahead of us dealing with the grief that comes with Mum’s passing, but there’s no rush, and in some small way we can at least take comfort in the fact that Mum is no longer hurting. It’s time to begin to develop a new normal as a family of four.
I’m Naomi, a 21 year old from Yorkshire, currently at University in York studying Psychology in Education. I’m a Team v senior mentor for the North this year, having been a Team v mentor last year and a leader for Leeds the year before. I’ve done some work with the Boston Spa Neighbourhood Plan and continue to work with Young Minds, Shout Out Leeds and Scouts! I’m also the Disability and Access rep. for my college, colleges volunteering liaison for my students’ union, and have two part time jobs, one as a student ambassador and one as a nanny. I’m always up for a laugh and say yes to almost anything. I’m permanently busy and spend a large proportion of my life running on not-enough-sleep, but I love every minute of it. Anyway, this is me, one girl, from a small village, stumbling my way through life.Naomi.
Read Naomi's blog: https://storiesofayoungvolunteer.wordpress.com/ or follow her on Twitter @naomi_barrow