'Mum was given the last rites, but she fought for her life to be at my wedding'

THEY look like any other mum and daughter, capturing a private moment together in the social whirl of a wedding.

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  • Caroline Moore, a nurse, is to run 10k in memory of her mum who she lost to COPD in December.  Picture: Phil Rider
    Caroline Moore is to run 10k in memory of her mum who she lost to COPD in December. Picture: Phil Rider
  • Caroline Moore, a nurse, is to run 10k in memory of her mum who she lost to COPD in December. Picture: Phil Rider

For Caroline Moore, though, the picture is especially precious.

Up until the day she married, she did not know if her mother, Bridie, would be there to see her take her vows.

Just two months earlier, and suffering from an incurable lung condition, Bridie was given the last rites in hospital.

Caroline, 30, a nurse from Glasgow's Southside, believes it was a determination to see her only daughter marry that kept her alive.

Bridie rallied and recovered enough to be allowed out of hospital, but died just two months later from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which claims around 25,000 deaths each year across the UK.

Caroline told how she placed her wedding picture in her mother's hand as she took her final breaths.

She said: "People kept saying to me that she obviously held on until then. Up until the day, I didn't think she would make it. I'm so glad she did."

Bridie, 57, a lifelong smoker, was diagnosed with COPD in February last year, a serious lung disease in which the flow of air into the lungs is gradually reduced by inflammation of the air passages and damage to the lung tissue. By the time it was diagnosed the disease was already in the final stages.

Smoking is the major cause of COPD. Caroline told how her and her brother Barry used to cut holes in her mum's cigarettes to try to stop her smoking.

Caroline said: "When she was diagnosed she quit immediately, which we were really surprised about. She had smoked since she was 14; she always had a cigarette in her hands.

"She also suffered from scoliosis, a curvacture of the spine, which restricted her breathing. We thought she was getting breathless because of this. Once they found out, they said it was late stages.

"My mum was really stubborn in a nice way. She comes from a family of 13 and said, "I'll give up smoking, I'll be fine."

However, in June, the day after Caroline returned home from her hen party in Prague, she received a phone call that her mum was in hospital, close to home in Newry in Northern Ireland. Caroline said: "She received the last rites from a priest and we discussed Do Not Resuscitate orders with the consultants.

"My dad told me he didn't think she was going to make it. But then a few days later she perked up. She was sitting up laughing and joking with the nurses saying how much she wanted a capuccino."

Bridie was in hospital for two weeks, but was then released home with a respiratory nurse going in every day.

Caroline offered to postpone her wedding, due to take place in Edinburgh on October 5, or move it to Ireland, but her mother would not hear of it.

Caroline says: "She said, 'Don't you dare, I'm looking forward to that.'

"My brother said to me, it's given her a goal. Up until the day she got over here, I thought she's not going to make it. She turned up looking a million dollars in a lovely red outfit.

"She was up the whole night, it was unbelievable.

"We had a ceilidh band on and she stayed till one in the morning. She kept saying to my in-laws 'I'm going in the next half hour'.

"She had a few glasses of Prosecco, and she hadn't drunk in 15 years. She was shattered the next day, though.

"We went back to Glasgow and they stayed in my flat. I knew she was exhausted.

"We went to Paris and then Rome for our honeymoon.

"She had had such brilliant day, and I thought, maybe it's not as bad as we thought."

BRIDIE was admitted to hospital later that month and once again, was not expected to make it.

However, she rallied again and was released home to be with her husband John.

However, Caroline said: "On December 6, I phoned home and they said mum was in hospital and on the 8th they said you need to come home now. She died on the 9th.

"We got as many family members as we could. They took her off the ventilator and then within 15 minutes she was gone.

"I was holding her hand. I put our wedding photograph in her hand."

The funeral was held two weeks before Christmas on Caroline's 30th birthday.

Caroline said: "She had been asking for the dress she wore at my wedding before she died, and I couldn't understand why.

"She wanted it to be buried in it, so that's what my dad did.

"It was hard but lovely."

caroline.wilson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

CAROLINE says her mother's death made her take stock of her own health and fitness. She has recently taken up jogging and is hoping to run the Edinburgh 10k on May 24 to raise funds for the British Lung Foundation.

Caroline said: "I am determined to improve my own lung health, make a dedication to my dear mother, and to raise funds for a fantastic charity, who provide support and advice for many families like my own."

To sponsor Caroline go to https://www.justgiving.com/runforBridieFitz/

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