A letter to Connie Johnson

Dear Connie,

I’m sitting here in the midnight darkness of my lounge room weeping for my mother who died in a bed not unlike the one you are in now. Surrounded by people who were angry at the world for letting cancer take her and scrambling like mad to make her end of days as peaceful and as graceful as she deserved.

My mother fought the fight like the warrior woman she was having touched the lives of so many in her 59 years.

And now, 14 years on, I still weep frequently for the place in my life where she should be. Next to me and the life I created that she never knew but hoped for, next to her grandchildren who she never met but loved and next to her legacy that she unwittingly created and had to leave. I weep at the sight of people, like you, in palliative care. At their end of days. It brings me closer to my mother and the bed I sat over for three days and nights as we waited.

I applaud you Connie Johnson and your beloved family who are sharing with us, so publicly, your end of days. As sad and terrible as it is you bring death to the front page and make us talk about it. As we should. You make us remember. As we should. And you make us take action. As we should.

Death reaches for us all, it’s just the dying bit that sets some apart. I believe everyone has the right to a graceful and peaceful end. In a bed of their choice. Embraced by the warmth of the life they’ve lived and the love they’ve created.

You are surrounded by all good things darling Connie as we, your villagers and strangers, now go on to walk in your footsteps.

Thank you for giving us so much, for fighting the good fight and sharing your story…right to the end. You deserve the most graceful exit, befitting of the legacy that you leave.

You have made a difference.

Kim x

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