This is the blog I have been dreading for quite a long time. It’s the one which closes a door on someone very dear to me, my 99-year-old mum Janina.
Many of you will have seen some of the posts I sent over the past few years of mum in different situations, many of them happy, some of them in hospital.
She always had a wonderful smile and positive attitude which I believe contributed to her long life. I teach about the power of the mind and how positive thinking has been proven to extend life and improve health.
There are so many memories of mum – her singing, her dancing, her joking, her smiling, the funny routines we had to say hello and goodbye. She never had a bad word to say about anyone and her favourite phrase was ‘Think Happy and You’ll be Happy.” What great wisdom.
A shining light
She was a shining light in the lives of myself and my wife Julie, my deceased sister Christina, my brother Richard and his wife Adele and her grandson Pete. She would hold court at every gathering whether they be Christmas, birthdays, or Sunday dinners, and would crack a joke or sing to make people smile.
She loved to see people around her happy and she did everything she could to make that happen.
We will all miss her greatly but her legacy lives on. We cannot help but remember all the wonderful times we had in her company. In fact I don’t recall a single time when she wasn’t positive and on form.
What great memories
The last memory Julie and I have of her is the day before she passed away peacefully at home. It was last Sunday and we arrived at her home in Nottingham. I knocked on her bedroom door a specific way and although she couldn’t see me, she said “Come in Johnny.” She recognised the knock.
We then sorted things out in the house, and we made a cuppa. She came through from the downstairs bedroom without a walking aid and sat down. She then raised her mug to us, and we clinked cups and said Na Zdrowie which means Cheers in Polish. She would then take two ginger biscuits (always 2) and would hand me the pack for me to take two. It was the same routine every time.
We chatted a bit and watched ‘Come Dine with Me’ on TV. We laughed and had a good time. I then put some special cream on her knees, and she rubbed it in and said it felt nice. After a while it was time to go home, so we tidied up and then we went through the routine to say goodbye.
A special goodbye
This consisted of us blowing lots of kisses to each other then waving in a special way and saying “Pa Pa” over and over which means “Bye Bye” in Polish. This was silly but it became our special goodbye which started during Covid.
We then got in the car and as we drove past the window mum had lifted the net curtain and put it behind her head so she could wave us off. This is the final memory we have of her, and this is something I will be eternally grateful for.
We all prayed that she would pass away peacefully at home. Mum was adamant that she wanted to pass away at home, and she prayed constantly about this. She didn’t want to go into a home and then into a hospice and slowly fade away. She wanted to be at home where she could watch Polish Mass on TV every day and be independent right up to her death.
She looked a picture of health
As we left mum, she looked a picture of health, and never would we have guessed that just 18 hours later she would be found unresponsive. The doctors have said that she died of old age which is the same as the Queen. I always called her Queen so that was a nice coincidence.
Whenever I start to feel very sad thinking about her, I am immediately drawn to the fact that she didn’t suffer a long lingering death in a hospice or hospital and our last memories of her are so wonderful.
We are very blessed that this is the way she went, and we thank God that He allowed her to fulfil her greatest wish to pass away at home.
This has helped me greatly
I didn’t want to bring in any of my Mental Resilience work into this blog but there is one technique which has brought me incredible comfort during this difficult week. This is the Reframe technique which is to find the seed of something positive in every negative situation.
I have been using this unconsciously as whenever I think about my mum, I am immediately drawn to the fact that she died at home and the last memories we have of her are so positive. This has made a huge difference to the way I am dealing with this.
“Mum I am going to miss you terribly and you will always be in my heart.” I have been going through all the photos I have taken of her over the past years, and they have made me cry and laugh in the same measure.
She was such an inspiration to so many people and her memory will live on.
“Until we meet in heaven, I just want you to know that I love you so much and it was my greatest honour to look after you in your latter years.”
Your loving son John