"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Farewell Daphne

On Friday morning at 6.00 Daphne gave up the unequal struggle and slipped away. She was 83. I was with her. She loved life which is, perhaps, why she fought to keep it for so long. She never once showed self-pity: she never cried or asked why, or raged against the injustice of it all. She didn't go easily but did have peace in her last hours. What struck me most of all was the indignity of it all as I watched this shell of the woman who had been my mother with her mind destroyed by Alzheimer's and her body eaten away by cancer.

But that is not how I shall choose to remember her. This picture shows Daphne in her prime. My Dad must have thought all his Christmases had come at once!

At some point in the last couple of days someone had given Mum a manicure. She left this life with beautifully shaped and deep fuscia nails. Classy to the end, Daphne. It seemed like a sort of annointing.

While we were waiting for the undertaker I was able to sit with Daphne and enjoy being with her at peace. I was deeply touched by the many visitors she had as word got round amongst her neighbours and staff at Victoria Court, and people came to say their farewells.

She had found some comfort in music in her final weeks and seemed particularly moved by the reflective sounds of Midori, All Angels and Luminosa and, of course, she never tired of Nat King-Cole.

I was concerned about the effect of her death on her neighbours and wondered whether we might find a way for the undertakers to take her into their care discreetly.

"She came in through the front door and she'll go out through the front door." the Senior Carer said and it was so - after two sprays of her favourite perfume - to an honour guard of the complete staff: the manageress, all the carers, the catering staff, the maintenance staff, the cleaner, the Chaplain and the District Nurses, all standing with heads bowed in respectful silence. I was not prepared for that and it completely destroyed me. The undertaker said he had never seen that in all his experience. What a wonderful community!

It was a long and difficult struggle. You were so brave and uncomplaining. So, Rest in Peace at last Daphne. We shall miss you.
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  1. So sorry. Even though we may know it is time for her to go, losing one's Mum is hard to accept and we never forget our Mum. May she rest in God's eternal care and may He comfort you and your family.

  2. So sorry. Your Mum was such a bonny young woman. She must have made a deep impression on those who cared for her, for them to offer her such a tribute. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

  3. All my sympathies. It will be twenty years in May since I lost my own mother, and I still miss her terribly and think of her every day. But as you outlined here, you have many fond memories of a life well lived that I hope will be a great comfort in time to come.