Kate’s Story

The phone rang, I was nicely merry in a Summer haze of sunshine and cider after a day picnicking with friends in Regents Park.  We had popped home to change outfits before joining everyone out that night. I heard my big brothers voice, then it blurs.  I fell to the floor, just like you see in the movies.  I screamed, I cried and then adrenaline kicked in and I began the search for a sober friend to drive me up to Cheshire to say goodbye to my Mum. You see she had a burst brain aneurysm and she wasn’t going to make it.  As in, she was going to die.  “There’s nothing that they can do.”After a few calls to everyone that I knew I eventually I tracked down my other brother who was enjoying a meal out and had also picnicked with us that day, his girlfriend agreed to drive us up north.

What to pack? How long would I be gone?  I knew that there would be a funeral. Say what, a funeral, was this some kind of a joke? Would I wake up soon? I packed flip flops (it was a heatwave Summer), a black dress and some pyjamas.  I thought it would be for a few days, I didn’t know how long it would be – it ended up being six months. The drive was long and hard.  I sat in the back sobbing, I felt so very small, like a teeny tiny child.  I am the youngest of the four of us children, I was currently heading to meet the other two and my dad at the hospital to say goodbye to my mummy.

My mum who I spoke to every single day, often several times. My mum who was my best friend and confidant. My mum who was my hero (along with my dad), I was 28 but felt about 5 again.  This couldn’t be happening she was only 55. She had so many plans, a big future ahead of her. Saying goodbye was without doubt the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  She looked like she was sleeping. I kept asking the doctors if there was anything that they could do. The machines were keeping her alive.  I could not accept it.

She was to be an organ donor.  In time I got in touch with the donor families, they were so very grateful to her. Mum was a nurse who liked to help.  She was passionate about the organ donor programme. I like that she helped people even after she was gone.

The shock of the whole thing gave me white hair at the front of my head.  Seeing that it didn’t look quite as cool as Caitlin Moran I dyed it and covered that bit up. I drank a lot (well no more than usual in my twenties which was alot but it wasn’t happy drinking at that time).  Sometimes I would be out and able to laugh and have fun (although the laughing part took quite a few months), the worst bit was that moment, just after waking up when I’d remember.

I only have one friend who has lost their mum, yep just one.  It’s been 12 years since mum died and during that entire time I’ve felt like a lone ranger.  The feelings of loss that occur are still as intense as those early days, just less frequent now.  Every now and again I meet a fellow motherless chick and it’s like a club, we look and we know and more often than not we hug.