My parents were married for 64 years. My father died in hospital – my sister and I drove my mother through the 4 am darkness to say farewell to his body. We stayed 10 minutes and found solace in the dawn as we drove away from the impersonal hospital ward. My mother lost her marbles once he had gone. 18 months later (18 months of carers and caring) she had a stroke. She could not eat. The doctors spoke to us carefully and tactfully – we had to let her go. Mum was moved to a stroke ward in a cottage hospital. What a remarkable ward. We were very lucky and she was very lucky – kind, concerned and welcoming staff. We visited constantly, we stayed nights, sleeping on chairs or even in empty beds. From the end of November, my mum lay there, breathing on and on. No food and no water! She breathed on. We played CDs, we sang hymns. We read poems. We played them again, we sang them again, we read them again. You know a baby will, eventually, come. We knew that Mum was going to die. All of us 6 children came to say our final goodbyes. We each of us came again. By 20th December it looked like Christmas might be “ruined”. She finally breathed her last, slipping away on 23rd December. I cannot express how much all of us appreciated the time we had to just sit with Mum and I, in particular, as the youngest of her 6 children, treasure that precious quiet time.