The good, the bad …. but not the ugly.

Once again, I have not written anything for a few months. A lot has happened since my last time of writing - I got engaged (I think I mentioned that), my mum was diagnosed with cancer over last autumn (I might have left that out) and life continued as normal.... for a while. As we went into the winter months, it soon became apparent that my mum's treatment wasn't working and Sean and I decided to see if we could move the wedding forward, and host the ceremony in the Netherlands, so my mum would still be able to be there. Being faced with a mountain of paperwork, we opted for a live broadcasted ceremony in the UK instead. We set the wedding date to the 1st of May 2015 and started arranging things in a flurry.

IMG_6651Then we heard that my Mum's second treatment, and her third, had done nothing to reduce the tumor in her kidney. The cancer had already spread to her lungs and breathing became increasingly difficult. Along the lines, she managed to get trombosis of the legs, so she was no longer able to walk well and she was losing weight at a rapid rate.

In these last few months, I travelled up and down between the Netherlands and the UK as often as I could - trying to be there for her and my dad. My granddad, who has been becoming steadily more senile, went into care around January / February and my dad decided to move to the flat that was now left empty. Having the benefit of an elevator and equal-level flooring, my mum would be able to have showers again - as walking up stairs was no longer an option - and to go outside and onto the large balcony if she wanted to.

     

So the flat was painted and refurbished in no-time - Sean had even come over to help during the move - and the end result was stunning. Unfortunately she was not able to enjoy it for very long.

flat before

flat before

flat after

flat after

I received a call on Monday the 30th of March to book a plane ticket asap. I had just returned from an Etsy Captains' summit and was arranging some things for the wedding when the call came. Mum's health had been declining at a steady, but increasingly rapid rate and at this point she was afraid that she might choke in her sleep or drown if a bloodclot in her lungs would rupture. She made an appointment with the family GP for euthanasia - luckily an option in the Netherlands - and the date was set for Thursday the 2nd of April. And I'll tell you now: there is nothing as weird as saying goodbye to someone who is laughing, smiling and joking on the day they know they are going to die. The doctor came round in the afternoon to insert the tube which he would need later on. We were all there: my dad, my brother Steven and his wife Cynthia, Sean and myself. We tried to talk as normal, which is hard, and made many morbid jokes, as our family is wont to do. She specifically instructed Sean and myself to keep our planned wedding date on the 1st of May. Afterwards we heard that she even told Sean's mum Irene to nag us if we thought about changing it! At 19:30 the doctor returned, we said our final goodbyes. He inserted a slight of morphine, a sleeping drug and then finally the poison that would kill her. Then there was paperwork - and apparently a lot of it. A second doctor was called in and several phone calls made. The body was released and collected by a team from the funeral home around 23:00. The next day, there was more paperwork to arrange the passing: the city council needed to be notified, a date and time set for the service, a coffin ordered, flowers picked, people notified and music selected. We arranged a slideshow of old photos of her to be displayed after the ceremony. The lady that came to help us was, thank goodness, lovely and made the job easier.

pink/ redThe cermony took place just after the Easter bank holidays, on Tuesday the 7th of April at 9:30. The people from the funeral home had done a great job - but I was happy that we decided to have a private room for her during the weekend so we and her siblings were able to visit before the cremation, and that we decided to paint her nails in one of her trademark bright colours. The service itself was fairly short at 30 minutes after which Steven, Cynthia, Sean and myself walked the coffin to the cremation room where we loaded the closed coffin with all the cards she so lovingly received during her sickbed. And loaded was the right word - they just kept coming!

The coffin went into the oven..... and that's it. My mum is gone..... :'( There was a gathering afterwards of family and friends and it was good to see that literally everyone had turned up to pay their respects. A few of us went back to the flat for some drinks and lunch and the last person left around 14:00. Sean had a flight to the UK that same evening, I would go a day later. IMG_6972 IMG_6958                                 And so now amidst our grief we are planning a wedding. Thank goodness most of it has been arranged. So I am truly sorry that i haven't had a chance to do any wet-plate work in the meanwhile - because I know that's why you read these posts. I wanted to, truly I did! But in the meanwhile, until everything has settled a little it'll have to wait until another day.