Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Date of Encounter: January 1973
I was expecting my second child around Christmas in 1972. I was in and out of hospital for weeks at a time. I was not having a very good time at all with the pregnancy.
That is why no one told me my mother was dying.
I was told she had a chest infection.
I was home from the hospital one day, sitting on the sofa and still not feeling well, when my dad came in. My husband took one look at him and run out the back door.The look on my dad’s face stopped me from saying anything. He sat down and asked me if I was able to go see my mum in another hospital.
He told me as gently as he could she had about two hours to live.
I was in total shock. He then explained she had been ill for several months and no one told me in case it upset me and I lost the baby.
I went to see her and sat with her for a while, praying to God to take her that night as she was in so much pain from cancer. My world fell apart. I went back into hospital the next day and asked when how soon my baby could be born safely. The doctors set a date and induced my labour. My second daughter was born on 2nd December, 1972.
I was over the moon and thought that my mum could now see her second grandchild. But I was told not to bring the baby to see her as she had come down with a very bad cold.
She never saw her granddaughter. My mother died on 17th December. It broke our hearts.
But she came back to visit!
I was staying with my dad in January. The kids and I were in bed. Sudenly, I heard footsteps coming upstairs. I thought it was my dad or brother, but then the room went so cold that I could see my breath.
I looked at my oldest daughter lying beside me in bed. She had her eyes open and was watching the bedroom door. I couldn’t see the door as my back was to it, but I heard footsteps coming across the room that stopped at the baby’s cot.
I froze. I was so scared.
Then, I heard my mother say, She’s a beautiful baby! I watched my daughter’s eyes follow her back across the room. Then, the door closed by itself!
I could finally move again. My daughter said, “Mammy! That was nanny!”
I jumped out of bed and went to the baby’s cot. The blankets were pulled back as if she had a real good look.
To this day, I cannnot forgive myself for not turning around to see my mother. I talk to her every night and ask her to come see me again, but sadly, she never has.
One day, I will be with her again and she will get the biggest hug in the world!