It has been a hard beginning for 2019, a year that I knew would see my mother finally finding the peace that has alluded her since she started this terrible journey with Alzheimer's disease. Mum was diagnosed back in roughly April 2014. Last year saw the need to move her into a cottage which has less residents, but all had different stages of Alzheimer's/Dementia.
A couple of months ago, mum could no longer get out of bed and she started to sleep most of the time. She would still yell when touched by others and health care became a battle. Dad could not handle visiting mum to begin with but got better over time. Our families did a lot of sitting, holding her hand and just listening to her rambles, playing her favourite tunes and watching her disappear more each week.
Five days before mum died she lost the ability to swallow, food and liquids rejected. I spent Wednesday with mum just sitting and holding her hand and watching her breathing.
I came back to Sydney to go to my best friends funeral service on Thursday. Brad was so very special in my life, being there when the twins were born, support through words and helping at home when needed. He was an amazing young man who got involved with helping to raise funds for Elysha's Early Intervention program; helped out at home so John and I could have some 'me time'; sharing together our love of the same authors and movies. Sharing our heartache and joy over the little things and big. I say young man as at the time he was 18 and I was 32.
Watching Brad go from a young man of 18 who was mature way beyond his years. A young man that battled with how others handled his telling them he was gay. Through all the changes in his life there was always this beautiful smile. He shared fully of himself no matter who he was with.
We shared laughter, tears and lots of conversations. I used to go stay with Brad in the city just to have a break from the family once a month. Dinner, the Casino, a movie or a show at home and always breakfast somewhere the next morning before I caught the train back home to my other life. I have a wonderful husband who understands I need these breaks and he always stepped up to look after the kids and keep things running while I was gone.
We loved to sit and drink coffee and eat dessert and check out people walking past. We shared jokes and heartache and talked like there was no tomorrow. We watched each other go through friendships that didn't last and his finally meeting the man of his dreams.
But in the last 5 years we barely caught up each year, it didn't matter cause thats what a true friendship is. I was depressed and struggling with mum and dads health issues along with Elysha's needs and struggled to leave the house except to look after them, but Brad always found time to come see me. I always thought I had time to catch up and do what we use to do before, later. I didn't expect to have a call letting me know that at 46, Brad had collapsed and died. A massive heart attack while holidaying in Canada over Christmas. No warning, no previous history, just gone.
I have lost not one but two people who played major roles in my life, who listened to me and never doubted me, who believed I could achieve anything and loved me without reserve. I am feeling bereft and I know life will go on. My children, my husband and my wonderful friends and extended family are all being so wonderful. I understand that life will get easier and it will take time.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and share in my life.
This is the only photo I can find with us together, it's years ago. Sadly I have an aversion to having my photo taken and am also usually the photographer so most photos are of Brad with others. This is back when Elysha was in year 6 at school.
I have more recent photos of mum but this has always been my
favourite as the sparkle is still in her eyes and we are dressed up
as it's Christmas day.