I will never get over this experience but I can heal from it

I’m Leigh.I looked after my Mum for 5 intense months; there were times when I slept on the floor in a sleeping bag to be nearer to her. In the end she was going blind and she had stopped eating and I knew these were bad signs.

It was hard when she stopped eating and you are the one who is trying to convince her. My GP was so helpful, if I needed anything I would call the surgery and he would get prescriptions filled for me, he also supported me emotionally.

When her mind started to go, I took a step back emotionally myself. It was especially hard when she started seeing things. At one stage she asked for a priest to read her the last rights, even though she had never been Catholic. The best I could do was to give her whatever she felt she needed. I will never get over this experience but I can heal from it. In the end I had my own daughter who I had to get up for and go on for.

On the 26th of December I rang the hospital for support and the hospital said, “It’s a public holiday we are too busy to help out.” I think they felt bad about this and shortly after rang back saying they had found some space. She went into palliative care and she passed away on the 28th, which is my birthday. When she was really sick, my brother would come and spend days with us, we used to joke that knowing Mum, she would go on my birthday, not his of course mine.

I could probably still use ongoing counseling from this time. The hardest thing that will stop you from healing is your own guilt; because you worry that if you heal you will no longer remember.