My younger sister got married on the 25th September, she lives in the other side of the world but had always wanted a traditional family wedding and Mum and Dad spent 12 months arranging everything.
Karen arrived 2 weeks before the wedding and we were all so excited, we all had a greattime finalising the details and just hanging out together.
The few days before the wedding were hectic as the groom and his family, my other sister and all Mum and Dads many relatives started to arrive. The weather was lovely and balmy for that time of year and it was an endless round of meals and parties and trips to the pub, we had such a great time and were looking forward to the wedding as the climax of all the revelry.
Mum was especially looking forward to the day after the wedding, she said that was going to be "her" day, her chance to catch up with her many brothers and sisters, she'd bought a new suit for the occasion it was going to be a weekend of celebrations.
The wedding was beautiful, the ceremony, the meal, the music.... perfection. We were all out on the dance floor, I was freaking out with Karen and some friends, out of the corner of my eye I saw Mum laughing and dancing with one of her brother inlaws.....the music stopped and one of the band members asked for people to stand back....I looked around and saw a huddle of people at the corner of the dance floor......I saw my mothers shoes, someone had removed them and placed them neatly side-to-side. I grabbed Karen and we followed as they carried Mum from the room, we thought she had fainted. When we got to the other room a friend who is also a doctor immediately started CPR, I couldn't believe my eyes, surely this wasn'tnecessary..... The next few hours were a nightmare, my brother and friend performing CPR, my youngest sister sitting at Mum's head shouting over and over for her to come back....uncles who'd had too much to drink arriving and trying to restrain my father....my mother lips going blue...the ambulance staff arriving and forcibly removing my father and me from the room because they didn't realise we were immediate family.....all of us in turn kneeling beside her and telling her how much we loved her because we still believed she could hear us......finally a priest and a doctor to pronounce her dead and ask me who our undertaker was.
I no longer wake in the morning and ask myself if this really happened, I no longer re-play it all in my head, I no longer wonder if we should have seen some sign but the horror of that night is still with me. I know that grieving is a process and that everybody has to go through the loss of a parent, but she was only 59 and I was not prepared to lose her.