The end, when it came, was quick, peaceful and dignified. Which is about as much as anyone could ask for. We’d spent all week in and out of her nursing home in PPE gear, after taking an on-the-spot Covid test, watching her get smaller and frailer with each passing day.
In the last couple of weeks she’d refused food and later on all liquids too, clenching her teeth shut when it was offered. The nursing home staff, who had been brilliant throughout, told us to expect the end within days.
Still, it was a shock to get a call just after midnight on Sunday to say if we wanted to see her, we should get there now. As in right now. So I picked up my sister on the way to the home in South Cumbria and we made it with 20 minutes to spare.
If you’re going to check out then being lovingly cared for in an immaculate nursing home by expert nurses and carers, dosed up on medication so nothing hurts and with your children at your bedside, it’s by no means the worst way to shuffle off. In the end it wasn’t just the Covid that killed her, but what with her vascular dementia, Type 2 diabetes and a water infection that took forever to clear, it certainly didn’t help.
Officially it was frailty of old age with Alzheimer’s and Covid as contributing factors, which just about covers all bases. In the past, funerals in our family have been almost state occasions with a cast of thousands.
But because of the times we live in the numbers are now limited to 25. And instead of the fireside chat over tea and biscuits, we’ll be discussing the eulogy with the vicar over Zoom.
I used to joke with mum that at her age (77) Mick Jagger was still touring. With Keith Richards. Still, Jagger doesn’t live on his own in a bungalow with carers coming in three times a day and nurses twice. But then she never liked the Stones, she preferred The Beatles, before they went “all funny”. We’ll all miss her terribly.