The Last Goodbye

The Last Goodbye The Last Goodbye

Status: Finished

Genre: Commercial Fiction


Status: Finished

Genre: Commercial Fiction


A dedication to my later mother


A dedication to my later mother


Submitted: February 06, 2017

A A A | A A A


Submitted: February 06, 2017




How happy you looked that Saturday morning as I walked into the kitchen, I hadn’t seen you like that in, I don’t know how long. How excited you were at the forth coming wedding in two weeks, having your hair done, talking of the future and the things you were going to and places you were going to see. So much positive energy radiated you in ways that made me so happy. I know I had, had misgivings about you getting married again, but it wasn’t like you were doing so five minutes after losing dad. True, it had been a bit of a surprise when you told me you were seeing someone, I know you were nervous about telling me, worried that I would disapprove or get funny about it. How could I? It wasn’t my place to say anything and even if I had felt unhappy I would never have told you. You were my mum, and deserved every happiness there was no question of that. And to be honest, I liked him, he was older, but also cut from the same cloth as dad had been. He clearly idolised you and considered himself very lucky to be with you. He was respectful and clearly wanted to do right by you. What more could I want or expect?

So there I was watching you get ready for the wedding, happy for you, even, (though I never admitted it openly) excited. My wife was so happy too to be shown your wedding dress, and smugly tell me she knew and had a secret she wouldn’t share with me; women’s stuff, but good stuff all the same. Then we had tea and cakes, chatted happily about the wedding, and how we were going to do things. I felt good as we drove home, happy that for the first time in a long time things were looking up — how wrong I was. I never thought for a second to question you about the indigestion you mentioned you’d been suffering from. Never thought to suggest you go see your GP just to be sure. I so wish I had, but then — would it have made any difference?

In hindsight I think not.

So barely two days later on the Monday morning I was getting ready for work, switched on my phone to find a load of calls from various family members all trying to get hold of me then came the shocking news — You were gone!  Gone? Gone where? I remember myself asking not comprehending at the explanation that you had collapsed that morning and then, you were gone!

I couldn’t drive to the hospital fast enough, but I was too late, you were indeed gone, laid out in the side room for all to see, no longer the woman who had carried me for 9 months and raised me, no longer that strong woman who had, had to live with and face that the love of her life had cancer; a ticking time bomb that would and — eventually, did take him. That courageous woman who managed to get on with her life afterwards, even to go away on lone holidays.
How did you do it mum? Where did you find that courage and strength? I was so worried about you back then, I — I truly believed that you might follow dad shortly after, you had been together for so long and were still so happy and in love!


And now — you were gone too.

I don’t know how I felt seeing you there looking so peaceful, like you were just sleeping, but you were never going to wake up. I never had the chance to say goodbye like I did with dad, at least I had that with him, but you were taken from from me so cruelly, so suddenly!

As all the relatives were wandering around crying, wailing and hugging each other I stood totally lost, not knowing how I felt, or what to say or do. The nurse approached me asked questions, some angered me but I knew deep down they had to asked, I agreed to the request, I hope you approve. We never really talked about such things, but then I never imagined losing you like this — never like this. Old age, Yes. To live out your life in quiet dignity, enjoying your new marriage and the fruits of a hard worked life.

I deeply resent the fact that both you and dad never got to enjoy that, never got to enjoy the fruits of your long hard worked lives. I resent that a lot. One more reason for my rejection of God.

Then there was the postmortem, a procedure required for sudden deaths, and then to be told officially what I had suspected all along, that you had been taken by a massive heart attack. I don’t recall the medical name for it, and to be honest it doesn’t matter. Then to sign your death certificate just as I had done for dad, my hand shook as I did so, my vision blurred, I thought I was going to cry in front of the registrar, then outside that cold morning air made me shiver, that cold realisation that now, both my parents were truly gone.

I couldn’t bare to leave you in that horrible hospital mortuary, I’m not religious but it was not a dignified place for you. I had you moved as soon as they would release you to a more acceptable environment with the undertakers. Strangely, I felt happier knowing you were in their care and how comforting that was. The funeral arrangements were hard, I didn’t know what you wanted so decided upon much the same as you had done for dad, I hope you approved.

I truly did not want you home the night before the funeral mum, I know you did it for dad and as a result had set a precedent. I didn’t feel that was right for you. But I was overruled by the others, it made no difference to me ultimately, but I did not want to see you moved from pillar to post, I just wanted you to have the dignity and respect you were due.

When they brought you out of the house that morning, my legs almost gave way under me, I couldn’t bare it!
This was MY mum!
My mum!  My lovely mum.
I watched as you were placed in the hearse then slowly walked forward to take my place behind it, no one stood with me, only respectfully behind as the hearse began its slow journey up the road towards the church. This last journey I was going to take with you alone, I wanted no one beside me, not brother, not sister, not even my wife. This was my last journey you and me as it was meant to be. It was my right, I am the eldest, your first born, you brought me into the world, I was going to see you leave it.

I don’t recall much of the walk, only following quietly behind, head bowed walking slowly my gaze fixed upon your coffin and a complete feeling of numbness. I had done this for dad and now, for you. At the church I was jolted back to reality, I had intended to carry you mum but upon arriving I found I was unable to do so. I’m so sorry. I had done so for dad, and you deserved the same, but I just could not bring myself to do so, such was the depth of my sorrow. I was totally beside myself, I couldn’t even step up and say a few words as I had for dad. What was wrong with me?
You deserved so much more from me mum — I’m sorry.

I don’t know what happened after that, I watched the priest chant and swing incense over your coffin, none of it meant a thing to me, I drew no comfort from his inane ramblings, but I know it meant a lot to you and to dad. Afterwards I still couldn’t carry you, I could only just about drive to the crematorium and see you off.

And now time has passed since that fateful day, as I write it is exactly six months since I lost you.

There are simply not the words to articulate my sense of loss and how I miss you so desperately mum, I wish we had, had more time together. More time for you to come stay with me as you used to, drink my tea by the gallon, laugh, eat toast, drink more tea, go out with us and just enjoy your company.
Yes, you could be hard work at times, but you were never a burden nor unwelcome and looking back — I feel privileged that you never wanted to go home, but stay with me and my wife and that day you asked if we’d like to live with you? Made me so happy. You never asked that of any of the others.

I know the relationship we had was close, I know that and will always treasure it. I know why you asked me to be your executor, just as dad had done. I hope I have done right you, I hope I have done right by you both. It was not an onerous task, but it was most certainly hard and bloody stressful!
And you know the hardest part? Finding homes for your pets mum!
Finding them good homes, somewhere the cat and dog would be loved, cared for and live out there lives as they deserved to be, happy and secure.

I hope you approve what I’ve done, I had so little to work with, just the recollection of a few conversations and a 20 year old will that should have been updated a while back.
But, it is done now, there is just the house left empty now, empty of your furniture and belongings, oh that was hard to do, so heart breaking!

I had nightmares about it, I found it so disturbing, just me putting your stuff in bags and in a skip, tears rolling down my cheeks and all I could say was: ‘I’m erasing my parents! I’m erasing my parents!’
In a way I was.

I know you’re not truly gone, you’re always in my thoughts and in my heart. I miss you both desperately.
I don’t believe in God, the Bible, Koran or any of that stuff. It gives me no comfort in any way, shape or form.
But I do believe there is something after this life, in what form? I truly don’t know. I only know that religion doesn’t provide the answers.
I miss you mum and hope one day to be reunited with you and dad.

Until that day — I LOVE YOU MUM. I LOVE YOU.

© Copyright 2020 Gerard Peters. All rights reserved.

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