I’ve sat looking at a blank piece of paper for five minutes trying to think of a way to start a piece about what my mum meant to me. I got an A at GCSE English, and I’m known for being really good with words, but when it comes to trying to put into words what she meant to me, I always fail miserably.
For the whole of my 28 years in which I spent with her, there was nobody else in her life but me. If the dog counts, then she had Bella too. No brothers or sisters and not one other man came through our door from the minute my Dad left at 3 years old. She always said ‘I don’t need a man, there was only one man for me and that was your Dad… and now there’s only room for you.’ But my mums life revolved around me. From being a toddler, to until I grew into a man, living in the real word. She had my back every day. She decided that even though it hurt her, she would allow my Dad to visit me at leisure. We didn’t have the typical ‘broken family’ problems like many do, where I would see my Dad just at weekends and set days. She allowed him to spend time with me as and when he liked. We did things as a three, spent days together and my childhood was no different to anybody elses, because my mum allowed it to be that way. As a child that dedication she gave me and the sacrifice she made never really hit home. I took if for granted as I knew no different. My dad and I shared and still do, an amazing relationship. He’s my best friend, and I have my Mum to thank for that.
My Mum wasn’t materialistic. She worked at Wilkos and she never had much money, what she did have, she spent on me. She enjoyed getting in from work, putting her dressing gown on, watching the soaps with a cup of tea, that was about her life. She wanted little more. Shed spend her days in Wilkos talking about ‘my Luke’ to all her work friends. I’m sure they still hear those words ringing round the store. She was special, like everybody would say about their Mums but often I found those words empty. I really do truly think my Mum was the best.
When she died on November 19th 2013. It was a mixture of sadness, relief and a strange sense of comfort. She died at Beaumond House at 6,15am on a Tuesday Morning. The previous morning, the whole family, one by one came to visit. No invites, nobody called them to say it was Mums last day as nobody knew. But it was like fate, one by one they came. Her nieces and nephews, her cousins, her brother and sister, and her Mum (my Nan) all came to say their goodbyes, although they didn’t know it was for the last time, I did. I was there from 7am that day and I saw them all. Coming and going. Popping into town for a bit of shopping and coming back to see Mum. Occasionally there were 10-12 people sat round Mums bed. It was like a family gathering. And Beaumond house made it that way. The nurses would pop in every so often with mugs of tea, biscuits, chocolate bars, they wanted to make us feel at home. It was lovely... in a strange way. The last member of the family left at 11pm that Monday evening and I stayed with Mum through the night. I didn’t sleep. Im not sure if she was sleeping, or just had her eyes clothes. But she seemed at peace. The nurses kept coming in and telling me to go home but I couldn’t, I knew it was the end. At 5am a nurse who I never got the name of came and sat with me, she didn’t speak she just held my hand and sat with me. It was an amazing comfort, I can’t even explain how it felt. She didn’t say a word to me she just sat with me. It was all I needed. At 6am she whispered to me ‘she wants you to go home Luke, you need to go’. So, I did. I kissed my Mum and I said goodbye and I knew it was for the last time. Fifteen minutes later when I was home, my phone rang and it was that lovely nurse who’d sat with me. She told me my Mum left us just after I left. She said she was waiting for me to go. I never met her, never knew her name, I wouldn’t know her if I saw her now. But I know she wouldn’t want thanking anyway, as to them it’s their duty, but to me she saved me that night. When I look back at this experience it obviously makes me sad. But I remember how amazing Beumond House were for me and my family… and of course My Mum. There was a sense of calmness around the hospice at all time and a real sense of being at home. The little comforts they offer, and the fact they make you feel like at that given time nobody else matters but you. Therefore, since losing my Mum I have always supported Beaumond House. Everywhere I have worked I have organised events, the blue campaign most commonly. I also raised over £1700 last year for going sober in October. One Mum would have been particularly proud of as she hated me drinking. I will continue to do so because it’s such an important and special place for the Newark Community.
I invite you to leave a comment or story and pictures of Mum below to allow this memory tree to grow.
Should you wish to make a donation to Beaumond House in his memory please do so via my Just Giving Page.
Many thanks, Luke O'Reilly