My Heart Will Go On

It’s Monday and Magic Moments time again with the ever lovely Jaime from The Olivers Madhouse.  Thank you Jaime, for providing this weekly platform for me to let my “Emo” side out :)

15 years ago, my wee mammy wasn’t feeling great, she was breathless, feeling tired, struggling to walk up the stairs.  She was always slim and trim and fit as a fiddle, so she put this change in her physical being down to her age!  However, she did go to the doctor to be checked over.  He carried out various tests and even did an ECG on her.  Everything came back fine, but he decided to send her to see a Cardiologist, just to be absolutely certain.

I had a few days off work at the time of her appointment, so I volunteered to take her.  We drove to the hospital and prepared ourselves to have to hang about for half the day.  Bang on her appointment time they called her in.  I picked up a magazine and settled down to read to pass the time.

After about 10 mins the door opened and I remember thinking wow, that was quick.  However, instead of mammy appearing the consultant poked his head around the door and called me into his office.  I walked in wondering what on earth he wanted me for.

He started to explain to me that a normal adult rate was generally between 60 and 100 per minute.  My mum’s heart was only beating at about 33 beats per minute – shockingly low.  In fact dangerously low.  He told me the blunt truth, that she would have just gone to sleep one night and not woken up, her heart would have slowed and slowed until it stopped.

She wasn’t coming home, he was admitting her straight away and she would be transferred to the heart unit at a big hospital in Belfast.  She would need to have a Pacemaker fitted to regulate her heart.  My mother rightly so, just looked dazed.

I went with her up to the ward and the nurses found her a bed.  We of course, had none of her stuff with us, as she was not expecting this to happen.  So I had to leave her there and drive home to get her a hospital bag organised.  She gave me her coat to bring home and I left.  I was struggling to hold myself together for her sake.  I didn’t want to upset her by becoming distressed.  However, I made the fatal mistake of looking back at her over my shoulder.  There sitting on the edge of the bed looking down at her hands was my wee mammy.  She looked so scared, so frail, so utterly worried, that I couldn’t hold back any longer.  I burst into tears, I walked through the hospital bawling my eyes out, I felt sick to the pit of my stomach.  What if I never saw her again, what if she died, what then?

I have no idea how I managed to drive back to her house that day.  I was so blinded by tears that I could barely see, my throat ached from sobbing.  Every time I even looked at her coat sitting on my passenger seat, I howled.  This was, at that time the most dreadful thing I’d ever experienced.  I was terrified, I couldn’t lose my mammy.  Then of course, I had the realisation that I would have to phone my dad at work and tell him.  How the hell was I going to do that, what was I going to say over the phone?

I arrived back to my mum’s house and walked in.  It felt deathly quiet, save for the ticking of the clock.  That damn clock sounded like someone was beating a drum.  In the scared silence it boomed in my ears.  I stood there for what felt like ages with my hands over my face.  Then I picked up the phone and rang my dad at work.  He answered in his usual cheery manner and I just quickly told him that mammy was being kept in hospital for a day or two, so they could check her over.  I couldn’t tell him the truth over the phone, I couldn’t have him rushing in a panic to the hospital.

I told him I was getting her bag sorted and would go back, but he said he’d meet me at home and he would take it for her.  About 15 minutes later his car pulled into the drive and I prepared to tell him the truth.  The moment he walked in and saw my swollen cried up eyes, he knew that this was more than a few tests.  As I told him what was really happening, I saw his eyes change to deep rooted fear, he fought off the tears, but I could see a million thoughts crossing his face.  He left for the hospital with her bag and a promise to phone as soon as he knew what was happening.

I stayed there in their house, I didn’t want to go home.  I made some dinner for my dad for later and waited and waited and waited.  After what felt like an eternity the phone rang.  He told me that they were already in Belfast, a bed had become free and they had taken mammy in an ambulance straight away, he had driven up behind them.  She was settled in bed and would have surgery first thing in the morning.

I never slept a wink that night, I tossed and turned, paced the floors, cried, phoned my sisters, we all cried together.  At 9am, my dad rang to say she was in theatre and they expected to have her back to him by 11am.  I wandered around the house like a zombie, watching the clock, waiting for my chance to ring the ward and check that she was ok, check she’d made it back out of theatre.  Almost at the stroke of 11, I picked up the phone.

The nurse who answered was lovely, she giggled and told me that one of my other sisters had just been on the phone too.  She then asked me if I would like to speak to my mum, she could take the phone to her bed.  If I could have done it down the phone I would have kissed that nurse, it was like she read my mind, she knew I just needed to hear my mammy’s voice.  That was my magic moment, the moment my wee mammy came onto the other end of that phone.  The moment that I heard her tell the nurse that it was her baby daughter phoning this time.

I could barely speak to her for crying, but that didn’t matter, all I had needed was to hear her, to know she was still there, she was going to be ok.  15 years on from that horrible time, she is still here, she is still ok.  She has had her Pacemaker replaced with a newer version and in every way she is fit and healthy.  Yes, she is now in in her 70s and she has slowed down, but this time her slowing down is genuinely down to age.  I cherish each and every single day that she is in my life.  I phone her every morning, just to hear her voice and every single morning phone call is a magic moment.  She is my wonderful wee mammy, a wonderful mother to the 5 of us, a wonderful granny to her 11 grandchildren and a wonderful great granny twice over.  I love her with every ounce of my being x


By some strange phenomena I find myself shortlisted for the LBP Awards.  I am flabbergasted to say the least, but also really thrilled.  I would be exceptionally grateful for any vote that comes my way xxx

LBPAwards photo blogger-oftheyear-20131380x550_zpsd062ccab.jpg

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26 thoughts on “My Heart Will Go On

  1. Fantastically written post, it took me on quite an emotional roller coaster. So pleased for you all that your story had a happy ending and this is a lovely tribute to your mum :-)

  2. my goodness Nichola this had me in tears!! i am so so pleased your mum made it and you got that #magicmoment.

    Thanks for linking up with #magicmoments

  3. OK I’m in tears – again! So, so pleased she was OK – what a fright that must have been. I love that photo of her Nichola – she looks happy and loved and very very well xx

    • Ah sorry I made you cry Helen. It’s usually you that makes me cry. She is now in good health, apart from the odd ache and pain of age x

  4. oh wow! Thank god she saw the doc and that everything was ok in the end! We unknowingly take our parents for granted and always think that they will be around but its things like that which bring it all in to perspective again. She sounds like a lovely mammy as well!

    • Ah thank you Angeline, it was a real shock t my system when I thought I might lose her, but she’s a tough old Norn Iron bird :)

  5. Lovely post. My sister-in-law has a serious heart condition that was only detected in her 3rd pregnancy. We very nearly lost her 6 years ago, I can remember sitting with my brother in ICU trying to figure out how the hell I was going to help him tell his 3 kids that their Mummy had gone to heaven. By some absolute miracle she survived, she also has a pacemaker now. Glad to see that your Mum is doing well and has been there to see her family grow :) #MagicMoments

    • Gosh Mary that must have been dreadful. I’m so lucky to be in my forties and still have my mum. I can’t imagine how frightened your brother must have been. I’m so glad that she is well and still with you all xx

  6. Oh Nichola what a beautiful, heart-felt story. It must have been such a frightening time, i can only imagine the relief when you heard her voice. The part that really got me was when you said you looked back at her – in that moment seeing her as a fragile, frightened lady. Bless you both. She looks like a lovely lady, and is very blessed to have such a wonderful loving daughter as you. Beautiful xx

    • Oh thank you so much. I remember just being terrified and convinced that we were going to lose her. I will never forget that image of her sitting all alone on that bed, I can still spontaneously cry when I think of it lol x

  7. What a wonderful post. Pardon the terrible, and I hope not totally inappropriate, pun but what a heart stopping moment for you and your mum and your whole family. So, so glad she pulled through. Thank goodness she went to the doctor. And lovely you still have her to this day – she looks very happy, warm, and very loved in that photo. And how much you love your mammy utterly shines through in the post. Just lovely. X

    • oh thank you Sarah, it was a heart stopping moment. I still remember how very frightened I was and it delights me that she’s always on the end of the phone, or a short drive away x

  8. So moving, and so well told, it was like I was there with you. I know that my parents can’t always be the jet-setting dinner party cocktail party social butterflies that they are now, but I honestly can’t really imagine what it will be like when the cracks really do start to show. Terrifying, to be casually reading a magazine only to be called in and told your mother could die in her sleep at any moment, when you thought she was just a bit breathless. I dread that moment arriving with my parents. But so pleased she is still around and cuddling her grandchildren!

    • Thank you Judith, it was a terrifying moment and I did think we were going to lose her. I count my lucky stars that she’s still here and in pretty good health now x

  9. Gosh Nichola what a story!!I was reading with bated breath,you wrote that so beautifully,it was like we were there with you every step of the way.
    I’m so glad your story had a happy ending,say hello to your mammy from me,she sounds a amazing lady xx

  10. What a wonderful post, beautifully written, and I am so pleased that it was caught in time. How absolutely right that every moment is magical and cherished xx

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