“Hannah, it’s time,” says Mum on the phone, her voice weak, soft. And a cold chill shrouds my body. I listen as she struggles to take breath, as her body aches with each movement.
The nurses would have offered to make the call, of course, but I know she needed to say the words aloud.
My bags have been packed for days, my husband and kids prepared, my line manager briefed on my need for a sudden departure, when the time came.
“I’ll be with you in half an hour.” I take a breath; I try to stay strong. “I love you.”
I hold the phone to my ear long after she’s hung up; I whisper her words to myself.
It’s too soon; I’m not ready.
Mum has been ready since her diagnosis; pragmatic and placated. She fought, of course, but also made plans in case the battle failed. Finally, it seems, it’s too much, too hard, too tiring.
She tried to tell me about her funeral last week, but I couldn’t listen. I didn’t want to think about it. I should have listened; I should have heard what she was saying. I should have been a better daughter.
The dialling tone buzzes in my ear, and I hang up.
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