On Thursday night I slept from 12 until 3.30. I woke up with a start, and it was Danie’s watch…. He was sitting on a chair next to Vic’s bed. Tears brimming in his eyes.
“I have been timing her breathing” Danie said. “Her breathing is shallow – every 5 minutes she takes a deep breath.”
“I read about it” I said. It is called Cheyne-Stokes breathing”
We sat in complete silence counting the shallow breaths between the deep breaths. I counted 25 breaths between every deep breath.
“It is changing” I said
My brother came through just before 5. “Why did you not wake me? I was supposed to be on duty from 4…” he said
“I could not sleep” I said
The three of us again just sat and listened to Vic’s breathing. She was motionless and her eyes were slightly open. Her feet, hands and arms were cold. The rest of her body was burning up with fever – 40+ degrees C. Her little toes had started discoloring.
At 7 O clock I washed Vic. I had started cutting open T Shirts so her little chest was covered. I was too scared to move her – scared that she would fracture and that it would cause her more pain. I put deodorant on her and baby powder. A light spray of Estee Lauder’s “Beautiful” finished off her beauty routine for the morning.
At 10 o’clock Lee had to leave. She had a meeting that could not be changed. She cried when she left.
I lay next to my beautiful child. My hand was on her heart and my head right next hers. I could hear her breathing becoming more and more shallow. Leon arrived. The three men stood at the bottom of her bed.
I whispered words of comfort and love to Vic – non-stop….
“I love you angel child… There is nothing to be scared off…. It is almost over baby! I love you so much” I repeated the words over and over again.
I could feel her little heart beating softer and softer under my hand.
“She is going” I said
Her little chest hardly moved. Her breathing was so shallow! And then it stopped! For a couple of seconds there was no movement. No heartbeat. No breathing. And then a tiny little flutter…and then nothing! Just nothing!!
I heard someone wailing. It was a terrible sound. It was me.
Part of me had just died.