I’ve lived in Melbourne for over 15 years now, I’ve become a suburban dweller, mostly leaving behind my rural lifestyle. Michael often comments on the change in my personality as we drive over the Westgate bridge on the way out west to Hamilton.
My journey on a Tuesday morning is touched with a great sadness as we head home to be with my mother as she dies. A flurry of communication yesterday says that she’s expected to die in the next day or two. Of course there is no certainty of when, but this advice from the professionals is never given lightly.
I can feel a change in my mood as we bypass Geelong and head into Western Victoria, it’s a pleasant feeling of fond memories in going home. The landscape becomes familiar and I recognise the buildings in the small towns as we drive through. I’m on the phone to my family in Western Australia, just checking in and seeing how things are going with them. We talk about their plans for coming home, flying and driving.
We go straight to the nursing home, it becomes a rallying point as my brothers and sisters, partners and aunties gather around the bed.
My mum is a frail shell, her eyes are partly open, her mouth closed with cheeks puffing with each exhale, her breathing is shallow.
What a life, this head strong woman that raised eleven children, supported them with numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her involvement in our lives and the great interest in each and everyone of us. Her obvious love for her husband, our dad for over 60 years.
We knew this was coming, and here we are now. Gathered around her bed, laughing, joking, sitting silently, but mostly we wait.