Dancing in Reardens

Disco Lights

Mae, will we go dancing?

I know that the next time my Dad calls me on the mobile it will mean that my Aunty May has passed away.

At this stage the vigil is happening with family and close friends spending the last hours of May’s life by her bedside as she struggles along getting weaker and weaker with every passing minute until the inevitable happens.

Early on Wednesday when the Liverpool v Manchester City second leg was top of my mind I received a text from my cousin, Tommy the Scouser saying that May was not well at all and the doctors feared the worst. The following day even worse news came through that she had deteriorated even more and basically her vital organs were failing.

I felt I better visit the hospital to see Aunty May and spent the first hour looking for her wandering from floor to floor until eventually I met her son in a corridor of the third floor. May was transferred from a room in the new wing on floor two to a “Personal Care” room in floor three of the old section of the hospital, room number 10. Fergal took me to her room where Uncle John was sitting by her side as well as her sister, my Auntie Nuala and her kids and some other people I didn’t really know.

Greg is here to see you, May” her husband John announced as I arrived and I sat alongside her holding her hand while she struggled to breathe and to talk to me. It was really upsetting watching her as she struggled in and out of consciousness, breathing uneasily and occasionally trying to say something to me.

Uncomfortably I sat up when another visitor arrived who seemed much more capable than me of sitting next to May, holding her hand and chatting to her. I felt useless and totally unequipped to deal with this situation.

For the next few hours I watched uncomfortably as people came and went and interacted with May and each other.

At this stage poor Auntie May was becoming really agitated as she was very uncomfortable in the old hard bed. Uncle John, Nuala and another gentleman struggled with the old bed and tried to rearrange the pillows and blankets behind May to try and make her more comfortable but nothing was working. She called out in pain frequently and despite her condition she kept trying to get up.

While the others were desperately trying to get some nurse attention to sort out the bed and some medication to help make poor May more comfortable I watched as Uncle John lovingly rubbed May’s head and comforted her with reassuring words and gentle comments that “We’ll go around the corner to Reardens for a dance soon!“.

That sense of honour summed up both him and her as their’s was always a jolly and welcoming house. Her twin boys and her daughter lovingly held her hands and gently spoke to her and reassured her that everything would be ok.

Poor May was getting more and more agitated between her pain and her discomfort and it was heartbreaking watching her in the last hours of her life desperately needing simple things such as a soft mattress and some pain relief. The under pressure nursing staff ended up getting the brunt of a very upset family but it was clear that they were struggling with less than sufficient resources.

As the nursing staff arrived and tried to look after May I stepped out into the corridor and gazed around at the old surroundings and into the old rooms and the impact of being moved to floor 3, room 10 struck home to me …. This was the section of the hospital where you were sent when there was no more hope.

As we stood in the corridor May’s daughter Gillian returned with her husband and their young kids all to see their Gran for the last time … Too young to understand the seriousness of their Grans condition they entered the room full of enthusiasm …. they probably shouldn’t have seen her that way..

Uncle John stood next to me and kept repeating how great May was and explained to me that there was nothing more that could be done for her. He kept saying the same thing over and over as if it was a brand new conversation.

When my mum and dad (May’s brother) arrived I decided to say goodbye to poor May and to everyone else as they continued with the vigil, which is still continuing over a day later. On my way back to the car in the pouring rain I called my cousin, Tommy the Scouser who was really close to her.

Apparently earlier that day May who had been unresponsive for quite some time, perked up totally when her favourite nephew visited. They chatted like two old buddies for two hours .. Tommy explained that he wanted to remember her that way and would not see her again. He cried on the phone as he recalled how fabulous she had always been to him through thick and thin.

I remember May for her warmth, her jolly nature and how she would always complimented how I looked and always asked after the kids and Deirdre.

May, we love you and we hope you enjoy that dance in Reardens..


Greg Canty is a lucky nephew

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18 Responses to “Dancing in Reardens”

  1. Rudy de Groot Says:

    Hello Greg,

    That is a moving post, one that resonates. My mum passed away on New Year’s day. Her health had deteriorated over the last 12 months and she was in considerable pain. I got the phone call on New Year’s eve that she had had a heart attack and was in a poor state. I couldnt fly out on Saturday evening, so was on the am flight on Sunday morning to Amsterdam. I arrived in the hospital at about 10:00 am. She was asleep and only woke just after midday. She couldn’t really speak and I think she had lost the sight in her eyes. I do think however she had a sense I was there. All I could do was hold her hand, and like you stroked it and spoke to her. We (my sister and her husband were there) went out for an hour that afternoon and when we came back it was clear she was going to pass away. She died about 25 minutes later. I was glad I made it to her in time and was able to spend the last hours with her. I am sad she has gone, but there is a sense of relief she is not suffering anymore. May she rest in peace.

  2. wayne Says:

    Sorry to hear that Greg. Sounds like Mae has a very supportive and loving family though, most important at tough a time like this.

  3. Tamara Somers Says:

    What a touching post!! I’ll keep your aunt and all your family in my thoughts and prayers. I’ve lost two lovely ladies I was close to over the past month and the vigil was a similar one, which is very hard indeed. Here’s to Mae, hope she finds peace and comfort in her final hours X

  4. Kerrie Says:

    I’m actually welling up reading this. Lovely blog. xxx

  5. Kathy O Dwyer Says:

    Very touching Greg you write so well.my sympathies,Kathy O D

  6. mercyfoundtimes Says:

    Reblogged this on mercyfoundtimes.

  7. Bernie Says:

    Lovely story, made me cry. It sounds like Mae is surrounded by love.

  8. Niall Mc Carthy Says:

    A really lovely story from a place that is very hard be in. I just hope that I have as much family and love when my time comes.
    Deepest condolances from Niall & Marie

  9. Gillian Says:

    Hi Greg,

    Just discovered your blogs about Mam, not ready to read them yet but Racheal in the hotel (the castle hotel marketing person you have meet her before) who is in the office with me to day says they are very moving. Looking forward to reading them when I am ready.

    Thanks for kind words Mam would have been delighted.
    Your cousin Gillian

  10. Pauline Moroney Says:

    Sorry to hear about your Aunt Greg. Very moving words. x

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