Max and I hugged each other tightly and sobbed our hearts out until our clothes were soaked with tears. ‘She’s free now Kate, shes’s with Dad. No more pain. No more suffering’ Max sniffled. Frances had left the room quietly to probably spend some quality time alone. I couldn’t imagine how he was feeling. He did so well by staying so loyal and supported her right until the very end. Max and I both walked into her room to have one last final look at her and say one last goodbye. Even though her face looked so peaceful, it was now just her shell she had left behind. We kissed her hands and her forehead and slowly walked silently out the door. Some time later, I walked back to the room. Max had gone to meet up with his friends outside to talk to them for a little while. I went to sit on the window ledge and looked out of the window – gazing at the beautiful trees outside. The sun’s rays were starting to appear over the morning horizon causing the tree leaves to shine. Some of the trees were glistening a bit – probably because of the morning dew.
There was a sudden loud knock on the door. ‘Come in’ I said. A slim man walked in wearing a geometric patterned shirt and light brown trousers. ‘Hello, are you Katie?’ he asked quietly. ‘Yes?’ He introduced himself and said he was one of the spiritual counsellors from the hospice. We had a very emotional conversation, and I explained a little about Mum’s life and what kind of person she was. He said that my brother and I were amazing and that if we need some spiritual guidance, he would be happy to help. I knew it wasn’t the right time to discuss it, so I thanked him and turned back to look out the window. Uncle Frances returned and said he was going to make a move back. I went over to hug him goodbye.
‘Thanks for everything, Frank’. ‘You have been so good staying with us and keeping a sense of normality since mum wasn’t home. We are grateful for what you’ve done for her and just being there for her’. ‘It’s alright, love’, he nodded. You two look after yourselves and we’ll discuss things properly later on.
Uncle Kevin and the family came by not long after. We all held and embraced each other. Uncle Kevin is always such a happy man, so seeing him upset is very rare – and that is hard to watch at times.
Afterwards, we had a quick meeting in the reception area with the social worker, the council worker and another lady who gave us advice about the next step with funeral arrangements. I had no interest in talking about it but Uncle Kevin insisted gently that we had to think practically for a few moments. Uncle Kevin as always, tried to lighten the mood a little by reminiscing and cracking little jokes about mum, but I couldn’t bring myself to focus and I was away with the fairies a little. I just couldn’t wait to sleep. Sleep for a long time and away from this miserable, unfair reality of the world we are living in. As soon as Max and I arrived home, we both looked around the flat and the absence of Mum finally hit us. He broke down in tears. I went to cuddle him. We held each other for a few moments and went into our rooms to sleep. ‘Love you, Kate’, Max said as he shut the door from behind him. ‘Love you too Max’. I pulled the covers over me and looked at a photo sitting on my bedside chest. It was a photo of mum and I taken from our cousin’s wedding. She had this lovely radiant smile.
I picked it up, clutched it against my chest and looked up at the night sky.