On Saturday, David's mum Mary died at home, with David and Ginny holding her hands. They had been with her for almost five weeks, since she had been diagnosed with pancytopenia - her bone marrow had stopped functioning, so she wasn't producing white or red blood cells or platelets. For the first 4 weeks she was fine but got slower and tireder. She still tottered around using her walker, and laughed and joked with them. It is only in the last week or so that she was bedridden and slipped in and out of consciousness. A few days in a row David would ring and say they thought today would be the day, but she hung on - her incredibly strong little heart just kept on beating.
But on Friday the Kahukura nurses who provide in-home palliative care in the Wairarapa told David and Ginny that the end was nearing. And on Saturday at 12.45pm she died peacefully and calmly with her two favourite people there, one each side, loving her and gentling her as she left.
She has been a lovely mother in law - I have always reacted strongly against mother in law jokes as they are such a crappy stereotype. And for me they could not have been more wrong or cruel.
David came home on Sunday, Ginny is staying with friends for a couple of days before they start the inevitable clearing the house - Mary was no hoarder, and most of John's hoarded papers were disposed of in an orgy of skip filling a few years ago. So it will be an easy task this time - easy in terms of there not being much, but hard as it'll be the memories of particular things that will get them.
Mary is being cremated tomorrow with no fuss (she is of the generation that did not like a fuss), and on Sunday next week we are having an At Home for friends. I am facilitating the event and will do most of the catering - Mary loved my cheese tart (as do Ginny and David), and she loved sponge cake, lamingtons and custard squares. Even though she won't be there eating them, we will have some of her favourite foods - I do draw the line however at grated cheese and celery salt on crackers ...
My lovely sister Dee has been here with me since Thursday (she had to look after herself for a few hours till I got back home from being an earner) and she is still here - together we have been looking after David, the newly orphaned. We have been very kind and loving, with the occasional pis*-take - our thinking is that he needs to know that life continues, that we will treat him lovingly as we always do ...
This morning some dear friends came for breakfast, which if I do say so myself, was spectacular. (Dee and I are a damn fine team in the kitchen - we've had lots of practice over the years.) But the main purpose was for them all to be with David and give him their support. Two bottles of bubbly appeared with the guys for toasts to the newly orphaned (and his entree into the Orphans club) and to his lovely Mum.