I’m back in Nantwich for 48 hours before heading up to Scotland for the Royal Highland Show. The team are busy making stock, and I’m recovering from a very early start on Monday morning after getting up at 2:30 am to take Justina to the airport! She is off to Lithuania for four days to see her family.
Last week, at the Ripley Castle show, I had a long talk with a friend whose Mother has sadly been diagnosed with dementia and the conversation reminded me of my Mother.
She died about ten years ago. Her illness was brief; the diagnosis came, aged 70 when she suddenly lost 90% of her vision, which is a common early symptom of brain tumours.
The doctors gave her nine months to live if she had chemotherapy and three months if she didn’t. My mother was a fiercely independent woman throughout her life and decided not to have the treatment. She lived another four months.
During those months, my father, sister and I shared looking after her. It was a very “full-on” experience but one I wouldn’t swop or change for all the world.
The growing tumour put pressure on her brain and so, in addition to going almost completely blind she became childlike requiring round the clock care. We did this from my sister’s house with no outside help until she went into a hospice for the final few weeks.
At times she was almost mad, suffering similar symptoms to those with dementia and at other moments, she was lucid, and for an hour or so would be almost her old vibrant self. It was during those times that I had the opportunity to say thank you and goodbye to her.
Caring for her was emotionally and physically, very hard, from helping her go to the toilet to feeding her, washing her body or brushing her hair. I will never forget the powerful connection I felt looking after her during the final months of her life.
I loved her very deeply and feel very lucky that I had time to say my goodbyes. I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose a loved one suddenly in an accident or to an unexpected event.
If you are going through something similar, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I know how hard it is, there are times when it is so overwhelming you will catch yourself wishing that it would end. Please don’t feel guilty. There will also be moments of joy and such deep love as you catch a glimpse of the person you love.
I draw comfort from the life that my Mother lived. She died, as she lived her whole life, with no regrets, and entirely on her terms. In choosing not to have treatment, she took control and made her own decision right to the end.
Her passing left a massive hole in my heart, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. But I also give thanks and praise for the example she set in living her life to the maximum. She believed that she could do anything, be anything and embraced her life with a huge smile and a simple enthusiasm that inspires me to this day.
Life can be a long and hard journey, but it is the people we share it with, that make it worth living.
Please use today to remind the people you love how much they mean to you. Pick up the phone or go round and see them for a coffee. Share your love and say thank you. You never know when it won’t be possible.
Remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.
21 thoughts on “No Regrets”
Thank you for sharing this. It is a hard life at times but it is worth it with people we love and cherish, it makes it all worthwhile.
Hi Luke, your words gave some comfort having lost my son , my only child, suddenly last week with no time to tell him how much I loved him and how proud I was of him, never got chance to say goodbye. I’m sorry for your loss but your mum would have been proud of you.
So sorry to read this Marie. My thoughts are with you.
I’m so sorry to hear your news, my thoughts are with you.
Beautifully written Luke, thank you.
Amazing words of comfort to us all . You are a proud son of an amazing and brave Mum x
Thank you x
Morning! Blimey this got me! On a morning when I am feeling under the weather with a throat and chest infection and I’m missing my mum. She died 14 months ago. I was her cater for many years but latterly she lived with me. In her final days in hospital I stayed with her each day and did everything for her. Yes it was hard. It was draining. Her feistiness drove me insane but at the same time made me proud and was the reason she nearly made 90. I miss her so much. Especially today. But I am grateful for the time I had with her and the relationship we shared. She was and always will be my bestest friend in the whole world. Thank you for sharing.
What beautiful words, the tears are rolling down my face. My poor mum lingered for 4yrs with vascular dementia, but unfortunately being quite aware of everything, and not wanting to be in this world, with no way out.
Thank you so much for sharing. My Mother died from dementia. It is extremely tough. My hope was my mum who didn’t have any lucid moments in the last 12 months, is that she didn’t know how she was as she would of hated being totally dependent. The only lucid moment she had was when she died. Looked right at me and I am sure in that very last moment knew who I was and then she passed. I will never forget that look.
Thank you for sharing your hugely emotional and personal story x
Your writing is profound and truly thought provoking.
My beautiful mum passed away in December and she was my rock, my best friend and my life. It was the most brutally painful and emotional experience ever and it haunts me. I loved my mother unconditionally and I miss her desperately. My heart is well and truly broken.
As you do, I do and thats to celebrate her life. Everyday I say thank you to her for giving me life and for her love, kindness, selfless dedication to fulfilling my life and making me a good, rounded, caring person.
Keep smiling and to all your readers who have experienced the same, keep strong, keep smiling too. It’s what your loved ones would want x
So true. I miss my Mum when truly absurd things happen. I could rely on telling her about them and we would see the funny side for days. I remember being in the opticians with her helping her chose new glasses frames because, without the lenses, she was unable to tell if she looked truly gorgeous. The door opened and and a really hassled young Mum shouted at the receptionist “Do you do short back and sides for a toddler without an appointment?” She replied”I think you want the hairdressers next door!”
Mum and I spent days reworking that conversation. “Yes come in now.”- whilst pulling scissors from the drawer. “Let me see if you would benefit from having your eyes tested madam.” Etc etc.
Nobody reacts quite like Mum. They just say”Oh funny!” And the moment is gone.
I nursed Mum through Parkinson’s and we even had a few giggles about that too!
Hi Luke . Thankyou for your thoughts that you write. I read every one and although they often make me nearly cry they are also beautiful and so often it’s like I thought them myself. This one though got to me most of all. I lost mum 6 years ago. I was with her when she moved on and we had some very deep talks on her last day. She promised me she would be there to meet me when it’s my turn and I told her that it was her saying that which would give me the strength to live the rest of my life in happiness as she never let me down in my entire life. I think of her every day. Even last night I as coming home very late after midnight from work in a thunderstorm but I had her umbrella with me and found myself smiling and saying “thanks mum for keeping me dry”. Keep on writing you thoughts Luke as they really are very thought provoking .
What a lovely person you are.
Went through something very similar with my father.
So lucky to have had time with them.
I never bother with social media but have to admit to looking forward to your words.
Very real, inspiring and honest.
Think your products are great too.
Will visit your stand at the Royal Norfolk Show next week.
Hi Luke. Such beautiful words that brought a tear to my eye. My lovely mum is suffering with dementia and the guilt and helplessness l feel that l can’t stop her suffering is at times overwhelming but she remains the sweetest most selfless person l have ever met. Please keep writing your beautiful thought provoking words.
Over 2 weeks ago I applied for my free samples but haven’t received anything
I lost my mother to a very nasty and aggressive cancer as well. She wanted to die in her own home and I made that happen.
It is the hardest thing you will ever do and it has left me with a massive hole in my heart too that nothing can replace.
It was an honour and a very humbling experience but it left me with mental and physical exhaustion.
She told me never to have any regrets as I took excellent care of her but I think that is nearly impossible to do.
So I do have some but I know I did the right things by her and I need to remind myself of that more often.
Thanks for writing that .. beautifully written!
A lovely blog. I miss my parents every day.
My Dad has got vascular dementia . It seems to be the long slow goodbye the only consolation is prehaps it softens the final blow when the time comes. He is and always will be my Dad , xx
Luke, thank you for sharing you feeling and experience you had with your mum. It was very sad but at the same time very uplifting. You and your family are amazing for the support and care you gave your mum as well as to each other. You all are an inspiration to us all.
I lost both of my parents over 30 years ago and it’s still hurts to think of the times that we wasted not making the most of the time we had left, not saying things that we should had said. But I know they, like your mum are looking down on us and are by our sides each and every day.
I wish you and your family peace.
Best wishes Jo
I love reading your blogs Luke, so thought provoking and I can especially relate to this one as I recently lost my dad. I miss him so much, grief is an awful thing ?
This is a bizarre place.I wanted to sample some products but find that all I get are emails which frankly are depressing at times.
Maybe some people like this but my heart sinks when the emails pop up.
I wish good luck to the business but blog is a downer