On Monday of last week mum called me after visiting hours. She sounded positive. There had been 6 visitors (4 planned, 2 unannounced) but she felt okay. Just a bit tired so she wanted to go to sleep early. The next day when she woke up she didn’t feel good: she was short of breath. By the time I arrived in Haarlem it had only gotten worse. The doctor decided to make an X-ray and ultra-sound scan. Fortunately that could be done in her room. We “hoped” there would be fluid behind her lungs or around her heart, because that was treatable. It wasn’t… The doctor was very honest: this was the aorta valve playing up. The only thing left was giving morphine against the pain and shortness of breath. Mum said it before he did: this is the beginning of the end. He confirmed that.
She was moved to a private room on another ward. I called Ron and asked him to call Joke and Gerard. If they wanted to speak to her while she was still conscious, they had to come now. Within a short period of time everyone arrived, including the sons of Gerard. Ron called mum’s sister. She was too far away to come in time, but she talked to mum on the phone.
During all this mum was cheerful, even made jokes. She was well aware of what was happening, but she was okay with it. She has always been terrified for dying, but she wasn’t anymore. She told me she would have loved to live longer, but now that this wasn’t possible she accepted it fully. She talked about the people she would meet again on the other side: dad, her brothers and sisters, nephew, friends. In spite of the situation I was glad she could see it like that. It made it a bit less hard to let her go.
I stayed the night with her; the nurses had placed an extra bed in her room for me. I didn’t sleep much, always had an eye on her. When mum had gotten a double dose of morphine I fell asleep. I dreamed of dad and asked him to take care of mum. He assured me he would and said: “half past 4”. I didn’t understand, but the dream was very comforting.
Mum was glad I was with her. In between the morphine injections she was awake and conscious. She put her arm around me and thanked me for all that I’ve done for her. She asked me to forgive her for not wanting me when she was pregnant. Of course I did, I know how much she loves and appreciates me. She reminded me of little things to do after her death, but I reassured her everything would be settled in the best way possible. One time she woke up and waved at me. She asked me: “Why do I wake up again? I don’t want to anymore. I want to go, is that okay?” I told her it was fine. The last time she woke up I asked her if she was short of breath. She nodded no. I walked to her and asked if she was comfortable. She wanted to sit up a bit more straight. I put my arms around her to help her. Then suddenly she stiffened. I called the nurse. He went to get Joke (who also was in the hospital) and the doctor. Joke was just in time. When the doctor came, she confirmed mum had gone. It was half past 4…