Au revoir, maman

She was diagnosed with cancer only 2 1/2 weeks ago. Yesterday morning, Mum took her last breath and passed into spirit. Figures she’d choose the summer solstice – she was always in rhythm with the Earth and its seasons.

The last two days of her life were difficult for us. She rapidly became less able to communicate and seeing her unable to make even her basic needs known was heartbreaking.

On Sunday, we brought her to my house, realizing that it was her last trip, that she wasn’t going back home again. Hospice ordered a hospital bed — which made helping her sit up to drink a lot easier. She ate breakfast that morning — some fruit and a cup of red rooibos tea, shuffled to our house, and went to bed. That turned out to be her last meal.

There are many things I’m grateful for:
Your prayers and loving thoughts.
Being with her and taking care of her with my brother, Christopher.
Sitting up through the night with her, playing reggae music and singing songs, until Christopher sent me to bed for a couple of hours.
Talking with her, letting her know we love her, that we’ll be strong for each other and letting her go.
Putting on Goddess Inside and Another Star in the Sky (my recordings). She took her last breath during Daydream Song.
Knowing that she’s no longer trapped in a dying body, that she’s free, that she has peace.

Some photos from her last couple of weeks.

After Berry and Duncan’s ballet recital on June 4.

At her apartment on June 12.

Saying goodnight to Berry after dinner on June 15.

Hugging a somewhat reluctant Duncan the same day.

Having a rest on the couch on June 18.

Leaving her house in her PJs on Sunday, June 19.

That’s the last picture I took of her.

Watching her during the night, that Sunday, she still looked beautiful. I curled up in bed with her for a while, knowing that soon I wouldn’t be able to do that anymore. She always gave good snuggles.

4 thoughts on “Au revoir, maman

  1. Thank you for sharing your last private moments with your mum. It is the cycle of life, but she is/was/always will be too young to go so soon. I will always remember her beauty and grace. many tears, love you, B.

  2. Jo, what a beautiful eulogy. I’m so glad you were able to spend her last days together in love and spirit. Your Mum was a beautiful woman and so clearly a loving mother and grandmother. I wish you comfort and peace at this difficult time.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Joanna. It means so much to me to be present and as close as this brings me. I’m going to miss mum, a ton. Things will not be the same, for me either.

    Such light in her eyes. Such spirit. She will have to do her good from other places, now.

    Love. ~ k

  4. Joanna,
    I do not know you and simply stumbled into your blog unexpectedly as I surfed the web. Google brought me here I don’t even remember how now.
    I started reading your last entry here and simply lost my breath.
    I too have lost my mother to cancer. A very rare form of lung cancer. It’ll be three years this coming boxing day.
    Life will never feel the same.
    My Mum adopted this saying a couple of weeks before she passed on:

    “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” -Abraham Lincoln.

    I wanted to comment to tell you that, you are not alone.
    You will get through this and you will be strong.
    Your strength shines through your blog posts about your mother.
    I pride you in this strength.
    Your blog writings are simply beautiful. She seems like an amazing woman.
    Remember all the positive and great times.

    I wish you nothing but love, hope and strength in your coming time.
    And send what hope love and strength I can your way today.


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