I had an email from my Aunty Gill (one of dad's sisters) who is on holiday here from America telling me that my Aunty Lesley had been rushed to hospital and could I get hold of mum and dad as she only has their home number and not their mobiles or even my own home number with her in the UK. Mum and dad are away in their caravan for the weekend.
I was assured by the local hospital at 10.40pm that she was comfortable as could be expected and to call in the morning to see what kind of night she had had. Then to call again after 10.30am today after she had been seen by the consultant. This info I relayed to my parents. Settling news as she seemed to be relatively comfortable and they were unconcerned as to her immediate future.
I then received another call from the hospital at 11.45pm to say that she had deteriorated rapidly and could I ring the family, which I did.
I then get a call at 4.20am to say that she was very, very poorly and sadly not expected to see this morning. Again the phone calls all round to my parents, cousins and two aunties. Unfortunately it seems no sooner had I put the phone down again after making these sad calls that I then get another call from the hospital to say she had passed away at 4.45am.
I then had to call my parents, and my cousins while the hospital rang my other two aunties to give them the sad news.
Though I'm glad dad didn't come straight home in the middle of the night as he has a heart complaint and angina and is 72 himself and would have had to drive 2 1/2 hours to be with her in the middle of the night. I wish we could have said goodbye and God bless to her properly.
I had to explain to my children that their great aunt had passed away. My son who's almost 14 understood in such a mature manner, knowing her ill health which had become much worse recently. My 8 year old daughter was extremely upset but I've tried to make her understand that her great aunt was so poorly, that her body was very tired and it was making her sad to see everyone else sad for her poor health. That her great aunt is now in the stars looking down with 3 of her grandchildren who died many years back in a house fire. That they now have their grandma to cuddle them as my daughter has her grandma to cuddle and love her.
She later asked me if she could go to the funeral if it wasn't on a school day. I just can't let them go, either of them. It's no place for a child in my eyes. There will be time enough in the future for funerals. For now I want to protect them from that experience.