I once read that the word most commonly said (or rasped) by a dying person, at the very end, is “mother“.
In any language, mother … or mama, mom, moeder, mana, mater, maman … means the same thing: the one who gave birth to you, looked after you, held you, fed you, cared for you, protected you. For most babies, mother is the centre of the universe … before everyone and everything else grows in importance and mother steps back … so it’s no wonder a dying person thinks of the one who gave them their life, as they feel it slip away.
Knowing this fact makes me a little nervous. If I’m that important, I’d better make sure that when my children are 95 and I’m long gone, they’ll remember me in a good light! I know I didn’t appreciate my Mama, Mom, Moeder, Mana, Mater, Maman enough when I was growing up. It was easy to take her for granted because she was dependable and fair, and I never really questioned whether she’d be there – she just always was (and still is).
I wonder whether my final word will be “mother” or “Mum“, or possibly “Dad“, I suppose. It’s better than “don’t shoot!“, or “for God’s sake, slow down!“, or “are you absolutely sure my parachute is packed properly?” Actually I hope the last thing I ever say is “goodnight, see you in the morning“.