Thursday, 27 January 2011

A time to mourn.

I have been away a long time, because after many weeks of illness, my mum declined very rapidly over Christmas, and then passed away at the beginning of January. Although we knew she was ill doctors had given no indication that her condition could be fatal until just a few days before we lost her, and was a shock in the end to see such a rapid deterioration. She had not been in her right mind since the illness began and wasn't herself at all, but in the last days she slipped into unconsciousness and they just couldn't do anything for her as the infection had taken hold and she wasn't able to fight it. I am finding it unbearably sad to lose her, except of course that we do have to bear it and carry on as best we can, a day at a time.

The reason I have a photo of daffodils is that she loved them, I always bought them for her birthday on January 22nd, and so chose them for her funeral flowers - a lovely cheerful yellow on an otherwise quite wintery day. Such a shame she couldn't be at her own funeral - she'd have loved chatting to friends and family afterwards.

She had a really fascinating life, very far from ordinary, daughter of a very well respected GP who had the title of Honorary Surgeon to the King (and Queen - we have a coronation stool somewhere!), she became an actress, spent some years with travelling theatre companies in the 1950s and then became the first woman to read the news (she's not famous because it was only for the West Country region rather than the whole country). More minor acting roles followed and one film until she married in 1962 and had me, then she cared for me, later her mum and sadly later still my dad as they both developed Alzheimers.

She had an immense zeal for life and all the beauty around us. She sometimes drove us to distraction with endless conversations - about theatre, about history, about long-lost distant relatives, about people she'd just met who she'd found out all about, just because they were people and she was interested in everything about everybody, really genuinely interested.

She used to go for walks in the local woods and then draw us maps of where the very best bluebells were, just so she could share her enjoyment of them, and has left money in her Will specifically for snowdrops to be planted in public places so that others can enjoy them year after year, that just about sums her up perfectly I think.

We lost my dad a long time ago but she kept his ashes till she could join him - so earlier this week we buried them both together, just as they would have wished. Very hard, and so final somehow to see the casket in the ground with both their names on, but they are just where she wanted to be in the churchyard right next to the house they loved and lived in for many years.

It's not a great time of year is it for anyone, still cold and grey, and I'm looking forward to spring coming as I'm sure we all are. In the meantime I seem to have masses to do, and am unfortunately the reluctant nearly-owner of a Grade II listed 16th Century cottage in need of very extensive clearing out and rather extensive renovation too - perhaps more of that in another post! So felting and blogging sadly will largely have to stop or be very infrequent for the time being, hopefully when things settle a bit I'll be able to carry on, and the house is certainly fascinating even if terrifyingly full of stuff. In the meantime here is another photo of the flowers, last week we found in the house this silver rose bowl which I never knew existed - a present from my mum's father to her mother on their wedding day in the 1920s, and a lovely discovery which I'll polish and use as much as I can, how nice to have such a connection to the past.

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