Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Death Mother

It is such a sad thing to see when people are old, in pain, and only want an end to it.  My mother told me once how she envied one of the other old ones in the Nursing Home - that she went to bed one night and just didn't wake up. She said that she wasn't the only one who envied her.

One of her poems.  It was written when my father was in a Nursing Home, some years before she was forced to enter one herself.

Nursing Home:

Imprisoned within helpless bodies,  
crying voicelessly to unheeding gods to set them free.
Tired nurses patiently coax unwanted nourishment between reluctant lips.
Loud cheerful voices strive valiantly to penetrate the pall of apathy.
Sad wives and dutiful children come and go,  hopefully bearing gifts
that cannot heal the grieving spirit,  mourning lost independence,
pride and dignity,  believing itself unloved,  unlovable.
Bewildered wanderers pace endlessly,  seeking in vain their own lost selves,
forever haunted by vague memories of a distant yesterday,
of tasks unfinished,  promises unfulfilled.
A desolate figure waits forlornly by locked doors,  
imploring embarrassed passers-by to take him home.
In my dreams their yearning eyes still follow me,  
pleading hands reach out to me,
And a lonesome voice keeps calling,  calling
“Is anybody there?”


My mother only wanted to be free.  She wanted to die.  And one night, I dreamed it, though the dream was not really of my mother, but another old, old lady who needed to die. Someone I didn't know, or my dream did not tell me.  

This is how my story began.  These are the first paragraphs.

It was a dream that began it, not just the dream, but the feeling that went with it - the feeling of an enormous love and compassion. I held the poor, poor, skinny old lady in my arms. I held her with love, and she felt no pain from all of the sore spots and all of the aches that go with an old, old body. She weighed nothing at all, and I held her so gently. She needed to die. She needed to leave the body that was only a burden for her. It had been so long since she'd been young and free. For years she had yearned for an end to the suffering. She wanted to endure no longer.

And I gave her that. That body in my arms, weightless, feeling no pain for the first time in years. And she died. I gave her that. She died, and I carefully put her back in her bed and covered her. She was finally gone, finally free, finally without pain. Love. Compassion. And I freed her.
I didn't lose that dream when I woke, though if there were details, they were lost. What led up to it, what happened afterwards - if those things had been part of that dream, they were not retained. Just the feeling of an overwhelming love and compassion. And then the poor old, old lady was finally free.

The setting for my story is a Nursing Home. It is based on one that I knew, one that my mother lived in for some years. I called the fictional town Conjellaback, and that is based on the town that I knew.  The illustration I used for the cover is from a park in that town.  There was a cold, foggy morning, and it seemed so apt for the sadness that was with me at the time, sadness for my mother's pain, for her sadness. 

There were birds, some of them in flight, or just beginning to take off.

It was like when a spirit might be finally released from a world of pain, or so it seemed to me.

The character in her own words - 'just a very ordinary, middle-aged lady. Grey-haired, a worn face, and my own beginning aches and pains, the sign of what was to come, the trials that old people endure every day.' 

It began as a dream, but it turned out to be so. Shirley finds she can make people die, just by dreaming it, and then merely by thinking it.

         It makes for an interesting thought - what would you do if you found you had this ability?

          Old people who need to die?  Many disagree with euthanasia.
What about wicked people, people whose deaths would benefit the world?
What would you do?

What Shirley does is in my book - 'The Death Mother,' just released. 

Tea Tree Lake, Mortlake

My mother was a very clever lady.  Another of her poems is about the sadness of Dementia patients - the 'lost souls.'  

                             Alison McRae                               

Why do you pace so restlessly?
What drives those weary feet?
Do you seek in vain the home you knew?
Is there someone you’re longing to meet?

Are you far away in your boyhood,
Dawdling up to the school on the hill?
Hearing the bell,  knowing you’re late.
Can it be you are hearing it still?
Do you search for the girl you loved long ago?
Is she standing there by the gate?
You hasten your step as the sun goes down,
Fearing she might not wait.
Do you call to the wife and children
Who shared your yesterday?
You must be with them before night falls,
But somehow you can’t find the way.
Oh,  troubled mind and grieving heart,
Uncomforted,  lonely,  distressed.
May you find again the self that is lost,
When you go at last to your rest.


This book is available as an ebook from Smashwords, and as an ebook and paperback from Amazon and other online booksellers. 

On Smashwords

On Amazon -

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