wings and things

Chapter 55: Gar’s death [1979]

on October 29, 2021

Several months after my dad died, so did Gar, my future mother-in-law, Anthony’s beloved mother.

By that time, I had begun my nursing training at St John of God’s hospital in Subiaco, Perth, and was also working part-time in a nearby nursing home; I was 200 kms away but I somehow got the week off when Gar died. I had kept in touch with this mother and son because I loved them – simple.

I didn’t have a car so my mother, on her way to work as a teacher, would drop me off at the hospital where Gar was, then pick me up on her way home. I sat and talked to Gar every day, for around a week while her pneumonia turned deadly. When family members visited, I would remove myself from the situation in order to give them privacy. Once the family members left, I would return to hold her hand until my mother picked me up.

On top of her pneumonia, Gar had also suffered a stroke, so she was mostly unable to speak coherently. She was incredibly restless and frustrated so the staff would restrain her in her bed until I arrived. Extraordinarily (in today’s context), I was allowed to provide and light her cigarettes.

Needless to say, it was a difficult week but I listened to her attempts to speak and sometimes pure sentences emerged in amongst her frustrated garble and “Look after Anthony” was one of these and I promised her a yes.

4 responses to “Chapter 55: Gar’s death [1979]

  1. beth says:

    it was so important that you were there for so many reasons

  2. Anonymous says:

    She adored you. And entrusted her beloved son into your care.

  3. Oh, I understand that one with my heart. My husband’s mother, before he became my husband, lay dying of cancer and yet sent me a note, “take care of Mike.” And I have honored my promise. Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. susanpoozan says:

    So very sad, what a way to end one’s life.

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