For a long time after Vic had breathed her last breath I lay next to her. I touched her face and hugged her close to me. Something I could not do in life as I may have fractured a bone or two. Everybody left me alone with Vic. I was so grateful for that precious time with my angel child.
I washed Vic and dressed her in her favourite pyjamas. It was so difficult trying to dress her limp body. Although I knew it did not matter anymore I was scared I would hurt her. Years of conditioning I suppose. I was shocked to see that a large part of her body had already discoloured. Her right hand shoulder, her back and the top of her legs were black and blue. When I washed her little body at 7am that morning, a mere 3.5 hours earlier, only her little toes had started discolouring… Her back was still so warm from the fever that had racked her body. Her hands, feet and face were cold to the touch.
I brushed her beautiful hair.
Then I realised that the boys could not come home until Vic had been “removed”. I phoned Siza to pronounce Vic and the undertakers and requested that they send their people to come and fetch my child. I lay with her for a further 30 minutes. I held her tight and cried for her. I just wanted to die.
Siza, the angel of mercy arrived…. She was so matter of fact about Vic’s passing. She put cotton wool in my child’s mouth because Vic’s jaw had relaxed! I wish I never saw that!
Just before 1pm the undertakers arrived. I was torn. I did not want her to go but I could see that her beautiful soul had left her body. It was no longer my beautiful baby girl who lay in that bed. In death Vic looked like a stranger… yet I felt that if Vic left that room she would forever be gone. Strange…..
The undertakers walked into Vic’s room. They were so smartly dressed in dark suits, white shirts and red ties.
They hugged me and said “When you are ready… We can wait”.
I remember thinking “I look so ugly when I cry. These strangers can see me cry!”. I nodded and they wheeled in a gurney type “bed”.
They meticulously folded up the outer cover to reveal a plastic sheet. They lowered the gurney to the same level as Vic’s bed and took her from my arms…
Someone said “Be careful. She breaks bones easily…”
They lay Vic on this horrible plastic sheet and covered her in it. I wanted to die. I still want to die just thinking of it. My beautiful baby girl, who only deserved Egyptian cotton, wrapped in hard plastic!! They quickly replaced the cover and zipped it close. I think my sobs were driving them mad.
Vic looked so tiny on that darn gurney! Tiny and dead!!
Minutes after one my baby girl left home for the last time. Never again would she grace us with her presence. Never again would she shuffle down the passage, never again would we hear her laughter or her cries of pain.
Vic left home – forever.