Parallel Universe…

35 days, 2 hrs, and 35 minutes since my Mother died.  It honestly doesn’t seem real, although I know it is as I was holding her hand when she took her last breath.

They always said she would die, or that she was dying.  I told all my friends, even people on public transport when they asked, she’s dying, she’s dying today, she’s even had the last rites, but she never did until that fateful day.

I even said to the priest, to Father John who conducted her funeral, she’d had the last rites before you know, many times, but you, you were her last, last rites. 

As she would probably say, she’d had more last rites than she’d had hot dinners.

Father John, he came to her hospital bedside when they said she was dying (and this time they were sure she was) apparently he sang Ava Maria over her – I missed it as I’d gone to the canteen to get a coffee with my Sister, when we came back our other Sister’s were crying, the last, last rites and a rendition of Ava Maria had been very moving.

Mum had been ill for 7 years with Emphysema.  I knew one day her illness would become terminal, a progressive illness which one day would become terminal, that day just always seemed so faraway.

She was 55 years old when she died, if she had lived just 5 days longer she would have turned 56. 

If I’d have known I would have got her a Birthday present early, but I didn’t know, and besides my motives would have worried her, she might have asked me why I couldn’t give it to her on her actual Birthday.

When you read interviews with famous people, they always ask them the same questions, one being “do you have any regrets?” well I do.  All relating to my Mothers death, for example I should have listened to the priest who did the second to last, last rites on her. 

He took me to one side in the corridor afterwards, people and doctors rushing past, a young girl crying (well a 27-year-old girl) a priest talking in urgent tones to her (they don’t have family rooms like you see in Casualty on TV, in my case just corridors).

They wanted to try a treatment on my Mother called a Bi-Pap machine/Non-Invasive ventilator (which was unfortunately quite the opposite and in fact very invasive).

It could have saved her life, but not for long, the priest reasoned that if it was only going to give her a few weeks, maybe a month or two at best, was it fair to put her on it?

It was a distressing treatment to have, a mask somewhat like a gas mask strapped to your face with two black straps, so tight it cut her nose open, with pressurised air being forced into your lungs, no drinks allowed for hours at a time, despite one of the side effects being a severely dry mouth.

May I add she was awake while having this treatment, an Emphysema patient cannot be put to sleep and put on a normal ventilator like in intensive care, as it’s too risky to sedate them.

By the time the priest had gone, my other Sister turned up, Mum was confused due to the high level of dioxide she was retaining  and  it was going to her brain.  The doctor wanted to put her on the Bi-Pap machine, she was crying and saying no, I don’t think she realised how ill she was. 

So I told her she didn’t have to go on the machine, but if she didn’t she would die.

I wish I never said that.  She wanted to go on the machine after I had said that, she didn’t want to die, amongst all the confusion and dioxide to her brain she knew that much. 

About 2 weeks later, after being on that dreadful machine on and off wide awake, suffering severe anxiety & panic attacks (they had taken her diazepam off her to help her breathing) she lost her life anyway. 

That is one of my regrets, I should have listened to the priest who did the second to last , last rites.  I shouldn’t have told her if she didn’t go on the machine she would die, I think fear made her choose the machine, and that human instinct & will to live.

I have gone back to work, I think it was last week or maybe the week before, I seem to have lost all track of time.  It was the week after the funeral I think.  When something like this happens it’s surprising how other people react. 

For example, the boss of a model agency I’m signed to.  She’s known for being very hard-faced and hard-hearted, I emailed her to cancel a job in the week leading up to my Mothers death, explaining why.  I received an email back with no sympathy, just to inform me stonily that she had replaced me.

So I was surprised to receive a heartfelt hand-written condolence card from her the week after my Mother died, it seems she had a heart after all.  That always touches me, people who seemingly have no heart, having a heart after all.

Her agency called me yesterday, they have given me 4 days work on a well-known TV soap.  I’m to be a model in an episode they are filming involving a catwalk show, the agency have told me I need to be able to fit into size 8 dresses & be comfortable wearing  just my underwear on set.

No pressure then.  My friends always tell me I look so nice and so on, but I don’t feel so glamorous at the moment.  I have worked on this TV soap on a number of occasions, I always complain and say I’ll never do it again, but I always do.

Who can afford to turn work down in this day and age anyway?  I should be grateful I suppose. 

It’s just sometimes being stuck in a room full of extra’s/supporting artists who are mostly ego-maniacs can be a bit much.  Which beauty pageant have you been in?  Do you think he takes steroids?  Do you think she’s had a boob-job?  Do you think I should become a male escort to support my fledging acting career?

Just some of the things you hear in a typical day working on set, and sometimes it all seems so shallow and fake compared to the real life things I’ve been experiencing off set.

I’d love to get a serious part, in a serious drama that highlights something worthwhile, like love, or freedom or anything!  I have no formal drama training, and fell into acting through modelling, I need a better agent.

Who knows this job might be fun, it all depends on the people you get stuck with on the day.  To be fair I have met a few nice, decent people working on this particular TV soap.

It just all seems like a different world to what’s been going on.  A parallel universe.



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