Saturday, July 22, 2006

Laying Out 1

Recently my mum was in hospital having collapsed at home and fractured her distal femur.

This turned out to be the least of her problems unfortunately and yesterday at 12.55 pm BST she passed away.

My mum was the bravest woman I know, but it took me seeing her die to realise this.

She knew she was not going to get better, as she had a severe pneumonia and aesophogeal disfunction which meant that fluid was going into her lungs every time she swallowed. And to top it off she kept having small heart attacks while not seriously life threatening, chipped away at her heart muscle.

Because she knew that she was going to die whether she was medicated or not, she chose to refuse the meds which would help prolong her life by no more than a few days but whch made her feel rubbish. She decided to face her death with her eyes open and with no fear.

This was on wednesday morning. I got a phone call from my sister on wednesday afternoon telling me this. I immediately made my way to Nottingham, which is abut 40 miles from Sheffield where I live. When I got there she was surrounded by family and friends and was the centre of attention. I got chance to talk to her quietly, just me and my mum later and I asked her if there was anything she needed. She was happy, comfortable and didn't want me to cry at her passing. I was happy to comply with this and told her how proud I was of her and how brave she was.

I then asked my mum if I could lay her out after she has passed and she was delighted to say yes. We talked about what she wanted to wear, that she wanted her glasses on and her teeth in.

Later as my mum ws sleeping I informed my oldest sister of my discussion with my mum and my sister became very angry, became abusive and told me I was disgusting.

This, as you can imagine, shocked me deeply. All I wanted to do was make my mum look pretty after she had died and she wanted the same, but my sister, and consequently the majority of the family thought this to be "perverse, deeply offensive and disgusting".

The strength of feeling this has raised in my family is unbelievable. I have been ostracised and accused of perversion and will not be attending my mothers funeral as a result.

What I cannnot understand is why something which was a family duty back in the days when people died at home, is now considered to be digusting and offensive. Is it because we are all so far removed from the end of lives that we cannot deal with the miracles that are life and death or are people simply afraid of their own mortality?