Remember to care for the carers.
They say the departed surround the dying. If that's true then Mum saw and felt their presence often.
It may just have been the lack of oxygen or the ever increasing doses of morphine, but her faith was very strong. She was never afraid of the baby and people she saw in the room that no-one else could see.
Fifty years ago Mum baptised a little girl who died when she was only 10 months old. In her final months Mum saw a baby almost every day. Was it baby Carmelina? She would smile, play and talk to her, reach out and touch her. Then she would ask me where she went whenever she 'left the room.'
One day I sat down beside Mum and she told me I was sitting on 'him.' Her brother perhaps, or maybe the father of her God child, or her own Papa? She said I knew who he was. Occasionally she would whisper, 'Oh Mum.'
After my Mum left Italy to live in Australia in 1961, she never saw either of her parents again. The distance too great. She once told me she never dreamt of her parents until after her brother had come to visit. She wondered if it was because she was too far away, that they couldn't find her until her brother led the way. Could it be that she saw her own Mum standing in the living room too?
On the day before she died an old retired parish priest came to visit her. We had discussed him visiting often. It was not to be known that this was her last day on earth. He said a prayer for her. As she held the hand of one of her living God daughters, the priest read her Last Rites. It seemed as if it was orchestrated, but it wasn't. The spiritual significance of this God Daughter being present at her God Mothers Last Rites was not lost on either of them.
Much of her last couple of years were filled with worries and fears, but I remember the day she accepted that it was weeks not years she had left to live. 'I'm too weak' she said 'I know Mum, and there are plenty of people waiting for you.'
A calm took over, yet she seemed almost in a hurry to get somewhere else. She moved more. Where she was once content to sit for hours, she tried to get up more often. She chatted to no-one in particular, in words we couldn't understand, but she wasn't talking to us. Maybe it was just the lack of oxygen and the morphine.
Maybe she was answering the prayers of her dearly departed.
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