“Amanda?” Adam looked around the living room door, “Your Mum is calling for you. I just heard her as I passed her room. I said I’d get you.”
“OK, thanks. I’ll go up.” Amanda sighed with exhaustion and put her book face down on the arm of the sofa. She hated doing that but for the moment it was quicker then moving her book mark before heading up stairs. She didn’t begrudge going to Sybil but she was just so tired with both work and caring for her ailing Mother. Adam did help with what he could but there were some more intrusive or intimate things that Sybil didn’t want Adam doing for her. And Sybil was needing considerably more caring for then they had truly understood when they brought her into their home.
There was a loud thud as Amanda started to climb the stairs. “Mum!” Amanda ran up two steps at a time.
Adam got to the door too, just as Amanda went in. He saw Sybil in a contorted heap on the floor next to the bed, Amanda fell on her knees reaching out gently. “Mum! Are you hurt? Don’t move, let me check.” She was aware Adam was behind her but ignored him for now as she carefully felt Sybil’s limbs, neck, and face looking for any hint of pain.
“I’m okay love. I just… I just fell.” Sybil’s voice was weak. She tried to reach up to Amanda but her movement was awkward and exhausted her.
“Mum, it’s okay, I’m here, don’t try to move, we’ll help you up. Adam? Come, give me a hand, please.”
Adam walked around and settled himself behind Sybil’s head, it was a practised movement that they had done a number of times already over the previous few months. Between them they carefully repositioned Sybil’s limbs and gently lifted her back onto the bed. Amanda repositioned the covers and made Sybil comfortable again. “There you go, Mum, is that better? What made you fall out of bed?”
“I was… looking for… looking for you! I wanted… I wanted to… to talk to you…”
“But you called and I was coming, you didn’t need to go looking for me. Anyway we’re here now, what do you need?”
“The box, over there…” Sybil looked over at the side of the dressing table and tried to point though her hand never lifted off the duvet.
Adam picked up the cardboard box, “This one?” He brought it over to Sybil.
“That’s… that’s the… one, thank you. Open it… please.” Adam did as requested and handed the open box to Amanda without looking into it. “I wanted you… to know where… my will is, Manda.” Sybil’s voice was barely audible and the effort was clear as she heaved a breath. “I got… everything… ready for you, my will, my bank details, solicitor… There’s… there’s cash too… for my funeral, and… instructions… all in the box…”
“Mum, don’t…” Tears came to Amanda. “There’s plenty of time to sort all that. Just rest, we’ll bring your tea up in a bit.”
“No, love. There isn’t… much time left, I’ve had more… then I was… due…” Sybil coughed painfully and heaved another deep breath. “It is time to… move on, and I wanted to know…” Another heavy breath, “to know that you… would be ok.”
Amanda laid her head on her mum’s shoulder and cried. Adam knelt beside her and put his arm around his wife choking back his own tears.
“Everything… Everything I have is yours, Manda, except…” Sybil sighed, “…cept, in the box… for Harriet…”
Adam reached for the box and tugged it over and reached inside. “You mean this?” He lifted out a wrapped package, from among the documents, with Harriet’s name on the front.
“Yes, that’s for… for Harriet. Give… give it… to her, please.”
“I’ll do that for you.” Adam put the package down next to the box.
“Thank you, Adam… for everything…” Sybil’s eyes closed as she heaved another breath. “Manda love, don’t cry dear. I know… I know… you’re sad, but I am ready… to go…”
Amanda cried loudly “Oh Mum. Mum! I don’t want you to go, not yet, Mum, please…” her body shook as she sobbed. Sybil heaved another breath and then slowly her body sank back into the bed as she exhaled and then lay still. Then another breath, lighter, and then a sigh. Sybil’s chest stilled. Amanda, sensing the change stopped sobbing and looked up at her Mum, lying peacefully. She reached up and gently smoothed Sybil’s hair from her forehead, “I love you, Mum, I love you.” Her tears flowed down her cheeks as Adam pulled her into his arms. Amanda put her head against Adam’s chest and sobbed, “Mum, what am I going to do without you?”
Adam and Amanda sat on the floor next to Sybil’s bed holding each other, Amanda shaking and crying into Adam’s chest, and Adam crying into Amanda’s hair. The box containing Sybil’s documents lay beside them ignored for the time being, neither knowing what to do next.
There would be phone calls to make, formalities to deal with, but for now crying was all they could do.