ghoti, Benedict, and I had gone out for dinner with her and Dad on Monday evening, when she was by all appearances doing quite well; but she took a fever in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and we believe suffered a brain haemorrhage not long afterwards. We were all summoned urgently to the hospital on Tuesday morning, and my sister, her husband, ghoti, and I all spent the day with her. She remained unconscious all that day, and my brother-in-law had to go home to look after their children. On Wednesday morning she was agitated before we arrived and was asking for us. After we got there, she spoke to us a little, and was clearly at least aware that we were there. While she had some discomfort, she said she wasn't in any pain, and after the nurses gave her a sedative to calm the agitation her breathing became quite regular. We stayed with her by her bedside that morning, talking to her, singing a little, and praying. Around 11:45, she simply stopped breathing.
Mum was a constant figure throughout my childhood. While I'm told she was often out on her work for the church (she did a lot of work setting up Parish Pastoral Councils, and indeed lectured widely on the topic in later years; she represented our diocese on the Irish Commission for the Laity), I have hardly any childhood memories that didn't feature her. She was a loving and caring mother who was a fount of quiet wisdom and common sense, and her outstanding abilities as a teacher shaped my young mind too. My happiest memories are of running around the house as a small child with Mummy in the kitchen, a safe presence full of love and warmth. I remember her taking me back and forward to school and to music lessons, always interested in the events of my day. Even once I went to university and was, to tell the truth, often too distracted by studies or my social life to remember to call home, she always made a point of keeping in touch. After university she and Dad supported me far beyond any call of duty, helped me to build a life for myself, and nurtured and shared my happiness in marrying ghoti. I was privileged to be able to spend time with her as an adult as well as in childhood. She accepted Benedict as her own grandson without the slightest question, and was just as loving a grandmother as a mother. We were joyful beyond measure to be able to share the news of ghoti's pregnancy with her, and for her to be able to see the ultrasound scans shortly before her death, although we are deeply saddened that she will not be present for the little one's birth.
Mum, there will always be a hole in my life now that you're gone. You made me into the man I am today, and I owe you everything. I love you, and I will miss you terribly. You led an unselfish and saintly life, and I have no doubt whatsoever that you have found your reward in Heaven. Some day I hope to see you once again.
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.