The boys were sitting around at Paddy’s and were waiting for the phone call from the hospital. They knew it was coming and they knew it would mean they would all be on the move.
There had not been a lot of talking that night. Dinner was a feed of fish and chips eaten mostly in silence.
I thought it was odd not hearing Tackas going on as he would about anything that crossed his mind. But this evening he was unusually silent.
Neither brother drank anything other than a few coffees. It was not the time to be drinking.
At 9.12 the phone rang. Paddy answered it. Replaced the receiver. Looked at Tackas and nodded.
In the car not a word was spoken. I thought they are probably thinking of what lay before them. Tackas I knew would be a jumble of thoughts, that’s what he was like when he was stressed and I couldn’t think of anything more stressful than this night.
At the hospital the boys went into Mary’s room and I waited outside.
I sat in the corridor watching the goings on within the hospital my thoughts on Tackas and how he was going.
‘Clancy,’ called Tackas.
When I got up I had the thought I was going to intrude on a very family moment and I was not family.
I hesitated a minute unsure but Tackas softly said to me, ‘It’s me mam Clancy, she’d expect you to see her now. It’s ok I’ll be with you.’ He took my arm and led me into the ward.
In the bed lay the serene body of Mary Tackan.
She looked to be sleeping.
She had waited for her two boys to arrive before she breathed her last.
Paddy and Tackas had sat either side of their mother, and held her hands as she looked from one to the other, nodded to each, closed her eyes and faded away.
Tackas said later he couldn’t believe it was so peaceful. It was he said like she was ok about leaving that she’d struggled long enough and even though he was sad beyond words he was pleased she was now pain free and in a better place.
I hung around with the boys as they sat with their mother. Arrangements had been made long before with the Funeral Director and what church and so forth.
I left them with her and went out and sat in the corridor. It was now a time for the boys to spend with their mother. The nursing staff I thought were wonderful, they told the boys to stay as long as was needed, that basically Mary wasn’t going anywhere in the immediate future at any rate. It was true I thought to myself as I sat there that the Irish do have a lovely way of saying things and often in a beautifully understated way.
Tackas and Paddy came out again not saying much but in the car they began making notes about who they had to ring when they arrived home and who would ring what relative.
Tomorrow the Funeral Director would call and set up a meeting to discuss the funeral.
When we reached Paddy’s the boys began the required phone calling to Aunty this and Uncle that.
I went and found them drinks, as now they could have a drink and we all needed one.