Friday, July 28, 2006
All Things Must Pass
Sarah Helen Miles (née Chalkley) died today at around 12.30 in the afternoon. I got the chance to see her for the last time yesterday. Her hair is still brown, uniquely, amongst the women in the hospice, which suggests that perhaps she died too soon, but if you'd seen her, unconscious and struggling for breath you'd know that the end couldn't have come soon enough.
Cancer has a bad reputation. But while it has taken both of my parents from me I have been spared much of the heartache that this disease can cause. My father was pretty much himself the day before he died, and I am lucky that I can remember him like that. The secondary tumour on my mother's brainstem meant that she was significantly incapacitated the last couple of times we were together. But again I can count myself fortunate that less than three weeks have passed between diagnosis and death. Enough time to prepare oneself, and to say goodbye. "Oh well," she said to me, after we got the bad news but while she was still compos mentis, "a short life, but a graceful one."
Whether or not she led a graceful life might be open to debate, but I truly hope that she believed that she had. She was a good mother, and she loved us all.