A Couple Of Sips

Today I learned what it feels like to help to drink from a two handled plastic cup a mother who probably aided me in the same way well nigh 80 years ago.

It is almost a month since Mum last visited our home. Until today I had not seen her since. For some days further visits continued to be cancelled as our mother could not shift a cold. She was then admitted to hospital with pneumonia for which she was prescribed antibiotics and returned home to Woodpeckers – considered safer for her – where she was kept in isolation for up to the Covid two weeks required period. Only Elizabeth was permitted to visit.

As she worsened it was decided that it would not be in her best interests to leave her home for hospital after medical prognosis was that she was at “end of life” stage.

In the last few days visiting has been opened to all without the need for an appointment. We are, however required to produce evidence of a negative test result and to don masks and full PPE.

This morning Jacqueline collected me, brought and helped me apply an LFT test kit, and drove me to Mum’s care home.

Apparently our mother has better days. She was asleep when we arrived and did not really awake for the rest of my visit. Mum’s head was lifted from her pillows which were straightened in an effort to wake her. Attempts were made to administer oral pain relief, antibiotics, and sips of water. If anything was squirted into her mouth most of it dribbled down her chin. Although she was in such a groggy state and her voice was consequently weak she was able to say what she did and did not want. She knew I was there and in fact held the cup with two hands as I very slowly, with no pressure, helped her to apply it to her lips and tip it enough for her to take two sips.

The care staff were very attentive, checking every fifteen minutes or so.

After about an hour and a half Jacqueline drove me home, Jackie provided us with a salad lunch, and my sister returned to the care home.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes; firm carrots, peas, and broccoli, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Rioja.


  1. So sorry to hear about your Mum. I hope none of this has put her in any pain. It is wonderful that her attendants are caring so well for her. I shall keep her in my prayers.

  2. Such a difficult time, for everyone. Still, it’s good to know that she has some awareness of those around her, and kind and attentive carers. My best to you all.

  3. A poignant post, Derrick. I’m so sad to read this news. I’m glad you’re able to visit her, and I’m sure she sensed you were there. It’s good to hear the staff is so attentive. Sending good thoughts your way. ?

  4. Such a moving post.
    So many thoughts. But I can not say more than has been said before. Thoughts and wishes that I am sure we all share (even those of us who have only recently ‘met’ your wonderful mother) and send with very deep sincerity; to your mother, those who care for and love her, and to you both.

  5. I’m so very sorry to read this! 🙁 She will be foremost in my prayers. I know that she knows she is loved.
    I’m so glad she has great caregivers.
    What you said about the two handled cup brought the tears. Life comes full circle. She helped you with care and love…and now you do the same for her.
    <3 to your Mum <3 to you and Jackie and Elizabeth <3 to your whole family

  6. After going through this with my mum 10 years ago and again almost 10 weeks ago with my dad, I completely feel for you. It was not possible for any other family but myself could be with Dad in those final days and hours. I was in awe of the care and dedication nurses and medical people have for the people they look after. My prayers are with you and all the family at this time.

  7. It’s been close to a year since my Dad passed. I was lucky because Dad was able to live with us for his last three years. His last three days were spent in the hospital. He wanted to come home but I don’t think he realized how quickly his cancer had progressed. I was also fortunate to be able to be with him in the hospital but because of COVID I was the only one allowed to be there. The staff were wonderful and I’m glad to hear that the staff looking after your Mom are also very caring. I know how difficult the next little while will be. My thoughts are with you.

  8. I am so sorry to hear that Mr Derrick. Old age is definitely something to be feared of for most of us. I clearly remember the time when my grandfather’s mother was on her deathbed… I still have nightmares. It’s not at all easy!
    Hope you provide her with the best days of her life!
    Much love, Arnav

  9. Oh Derrick, I am so sorry to hear this news. I’m glad your mum could tune in to your presence and it’s always good to hear of one’s mother remaining opinionated about one’s needs. I received the most comforting pamphlet from a hospice worker when my mother was at the end of her life. It took away a lot of the fear since I knew what to expect.

  10. It’s saddening to learn about the prognosis of your Mum. It is touching how you have related the two-handled cups that she would have helped you with in your infancy, and your revisiting the service although with the roles reversed. However, she is as young as the youngest members of the family descended from her, and that is how Mother Nature intended it to be. My the Almighty bless her in the best way possible.

  11. I have tears in my eyes knowing your sweet Mum through your words and photos and knowing what it’s like to lose a mother. I’m glad she got to go to the recent family gathering and that she knew you were there with her today helping her with those sips. You and your family are in my prayers.

  12. Unfortunately, everybody of us will pass or passed already through this way. Even in this heartbreaking time try to enjoy the connection with you mother. It will stay then in your heart and memory forever. God Bless you!

  13. Derrick, my love to you. I am so glad you were able to be with her, and I hope for as much time with her in the future as possible. Your description of assisting her with the cup made me cry because it reminds me of when I helped my dying mother, who also knew I was there but couldn’t communicate except by the expressions on her face. You have included her in your posts so often that you’ve allowed us to think we all know her too, as we know you. Because of this you can know she has people around the world loving her and sending kisses and wishing to hold her hand in greeting. You can tell her that.

  14. Dearest Derrick, I am so sorry to hear that your mum has been unwell. I’m glad you are now able to visit her. The thought of you tenderly helping her to drink is so poignant. Hugs to you all in the upcoming days. My thoughts will be with you.

  15. So sorry to hear about your mother’s condition. I hope she is kept away from pain. It is wonderful that the staff are so helpful and considerate.

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