The Little Owl
Dear Little Owl,
What a roller coaster! We took you to hospital with liver complications on Friday 29th September. You were then sent home the same night with medication, only to be asked back by a specialist 2 days later on the Monday. On the 12th October around 8:50pm you passed away in ICU with multiple organ failure. You had your demons later in life so we knew this day would come, but the speed took us all by surprise.
We were all there when they turned off your medicine in ICU and you put up a fight for at least 30 minutes. I held your hand and kept squeezing it hoping you would squeeze back. Squeezing to the beat of your heart to encourage you to keep fighting. I whispered how much I loved you, and how grateful I was for everything you had done for me, I told you, "you were the best mum ever!" I'm not sure how aware you were? You gasped and fought all the way, and then nothing. As I left, you had one little tear in your eye, I’m not sure why, I will never forget that.
The grief for the first 3 days was painful, my body and heart ached like nothing before, I didn’t know what to do with myself. On a rational level I thought I understood, but the reality was far to big for my mind to deal with at that moment. Like all good roller coasters it takes you by surprise and you can't just get off, you have to go with it, and ride it through no matter how uncomfortable it gets.
Those first few days I could see and hear you everywhere. I looked out my window hoping you would come around the corner. I heard you calling me in for dinner, somewhere deep down inside I never thought this would be the end. Then the questions, "how can I go through the rest of my life without you here? Without your laugh? without your cuddles? Without your love?" Fortunately I have an amazing wife, brother and family, who all amazed me with their ability to just listen, listen on a level without judgement or advice.
I found some comfort online in various blogs, in Buddhist teachings, talking it through with family and friends, without holding back and then in writing things down. The day after you died I wrote an outline for short tale called "The Little Owl". Your old Brownie leader name popped into my head, "Little Owl". The words came surprisingly easily and helped me to connect to you and appreciate everything you ever did for me. During your time in hospital we didn't get that chance to say much so this was my way of trying to change that. I read one of Marcus Aurelius' meditations which basically said after time we are all forgotten. This didn't sit easy with me, so I decided to pull this short tale together into a book. I wanted to keep your memory alive, so we printed the book and gave them out at you funeral.
I'm still only 3 weeks into you passing away so understand there are potentially tough days to come, but creating and sharing this book with my children, closest friends and family has certainly helped. The ride continues although at the moment I'm not as scared of what is around the corner.
I'll write again soon, lots of love,