I really care about kindness to others and I want others to feel it /share it
/learn it . I also want people to see courage in action in their working lives. Life throws some hard stuff at us doesn’t it ? We cant always choose how we begin our lives.
As a midwife I know that skin to skin contact at birth or afterwards can improve & help to concrete the mother child bond .
I’m not trying to upset anyone by harping on – it’s just that I’ve had emails letters and cards from women who had skin to skin contact against all odds and how this small thing that is SO huge impacted so positively on them – I try to focus on one family at a time and this gets me through my working day – patience with myself / patience with others – however courage is a huge part of me and here’s why …
If my beautiful mum had not contracted cancer , if she had not told me time and time again “I want to die at home” I would not be who I am today – this realisation has taken me years !
I have always (and always will) do my best to step back & see the whole person – not their condition / status / experiences as separate entities but in fact parts of the jigsaw that makes them individual and unique .
I was 17 years old almost 18 – at sixth form college studying Art /Ceramics & English Lit & Language – totally hooked by Shakespeare and clay , living a normal teenage life at college but at home helping my dad to run his newsagents shop because my mum was becoming less able to . I missed a few deadlines for “essays” & was summoned to Head of English Dept & after a brief telling off I was “removed” from A level English Literature course . I was devastated – this was my escape from life – poetry / romance / words / inspiration taken from me in one cruel blow – but I didn’t say to my teachers “my mum is dying – she hasn’t got long – help me ” I just carried on and went home and cried . At home I couldn’t ask my dad to help me – his heart was breaking – no one in my family had ever “gone to Uni” what was more important me or my mum ? I accepted my fate .
I nursed my mum at home until she died -the district nurses taught me how to fill charts in and turn her from side to side so that new soft sheets could be placed under her motherly body – I learnt fast as I wanted to make my mum happy as this made me happy – seeing her smile at me was priceless . I had finished my A levels and was waiting for results so I was free to be her carer whilst dad ran the shop and my sister Barbara (15) went to school .
“Our mum” Dorothy fell asleep with me & Barbara lying beside her . It was September 22nd 1978 at 6 pm -she was 53 years young – she’d lost the ability to speak because of the radiotherapy and brain tumour . She didn’t wake up – it was calm and peaceful – we didn’t scream out we felt happy . Her wish to die at home had been granted -we didn’t realise that the hard part had only just begun. My mum was courageous – she knew she was going to die and she accepted that .I hardly ever heard her moan about it and she kept a strong smile for her family – I have only just started to appreciate that her courage inspires me through my own life .
I have missed my mum every single day of my life since then – but I have also thanked her for the times I remember – her encouraging me to do impersonations from being young , her love of baking rubbed off onto me . I recall holidays at Butlins & Pontins with her & my sister – my dad unable to leave the shop so he couldn’t come with us – what a treat an all girls holiday in the 60s ! We giggled all week and had angel delight & jelly pudding in the “chalet”. Memories like going to see The Sound of Music , visiting Hornsea Pottery and also her perfume Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps(which I used to secretly pinch) live on with me – her love of Shirley Bassey Click HERE for one of her favourite songs -This is my life and Elvis Presley “Return to sender” that she used to sing whilst washing up Watch here she forged memories within me that I treasure every day ❤️
One day after my mum’s death a friend Sophie – who was an enrolled nurse said to me “why don’t you apply to be a nurse ? You were great with your mum and that way you can care for others like you cared for Dorothy”
Sophie I don’t know where you are today but “thank you so much” as without your words I would have floundered on what to do which career path to follow – I became a nurse , then a midwife and I’ve never looked back – very occasionally I’ve imagined my life with my mum getting older and me as a famous potter which I what I wanted to do – art & ceramics . Instead I work in the Art of Midwifery and I have two amazing children that I value & cherish – so when you read my story & realise there’s more to me than skin to skin – I’d like you to try and see that everyone’s story is different – life makes us who we are for a reason – try to help others as much as you can -this will improves your quality of life
I wonder what my mum would say if she could see me now ?
This blog is dedicated to “Our mum” Dorothy Guiney née Graham 22.2.1925 – 22.9.1978 A wonderful woman, mother,sister,auntie, wife and friend 💛