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Goodbye Mum

Nothing and everything to say really.  I was in Bournemouth at a friend’s house, having done a photoshoot the day before. I notice missed calls and followed them up.
Dad told me Mum was in Bath hospital and the end was nigh. I showered and contacted my sister. Loaded the car up and headed over.
About half an hour away from Bath I checked my text messages and saw that Mum was heading back to the nursing home. My sister and father managed to convince them to allow her to head back to the nursing home, my Mother sincerely did not wish to die in a hospital.
I somehow got their first and I know this, may sound bizarre, I wanted to take some photographs of her room. This was going to be the last place that she drew breath, it needed to be remembered.
I feel that in many ways that room was more homely than her house was at the end.  That moon was a present from Dad, I don’t remember when it arrived in our lives but have always been very fond of it.
Some of her favourite objects surrounded her and pictures of her children on their graduation days looked down at her. The box frame on the left is her corsage from my brothers wedding.

A bit later on, I saw Mum being wheeled in on the bed and lurked in the lounge while the nurses and care staff transferred her back to her bed. A brief family conference before we headed in to see her.
Without meaning to sound brutal or callous, it was clear that her time was drawing to a close. Her breathing was rapid and shallow, there was no response to stimulus.
I left to have some breakfast and my sister and father, who had been up all night left to get some rest.
While I was waiting for my food to arrive (at the pub round the corner) my sister called to let me know that Mum had slipped away.
It feels like, she was waiting for that quiet moment of peace. Perhaps I am needlessly romanticising and that’s just the moment her heart stopped and her brain shut down. Although, in all honesty, I feel that she was probably holding on until she was alone, before she passed.
I finished my breakfast/tea and headed on back to the nursing home. Just a short walk.  My sister was on the phone making important calls to people to let them know. Dad was outside smoking.
I went into see her. Knocked on the door. Yeah, I know….
Anyway, she was laid there, the care staff had tidied the room around her and placed a flower on her chest. I had a few words…as you do I suppose. Kissed her upon the forehead. It was the strangest feeling, knowing that she couldn’t feel what I was doing. There was that momentary flash of fear that she might, well open her eyes and scream or something. I know that is ridiculous but her near death has been a recurring theme throughout my life.
Obviously, she didn’t stir. I took a heart shaped brooch I made in 2009 as an anniversary present for her (Dad has matching cufflinks) and placed it next to the flower. It was very odd walking away from her for the last time. I will not see her again. I presume her casket will have a closed lid.
For the first time in so long, my mother was peaceful.
I will miss her company and comfort and wisdom. She also had a wicked sense of humour.
But, I would gladly trade every shred of happiness she offered me for her peace and safety. Her body will never hurt and her mind will never be stressed ever again.
I am a grown man and I will be absolutely fine and capable and strong even without my Mother’s presence. 
As much as I will miss her.
She showed me how to be a person and I will continue to live honestly, expressively and joyously in her honour.
Lynn Joy Pursey 1948 – 2011
We love you

Harry xxx

Posted on

Good bye, Cathy

I feel I should blog about this now, rather than allow the memories chance to fade or tarnish.

I drove to London last night and stayed at my friend Tamara’s mother’s house. Then about 12ish today we headed off to Petersfield to the sustainability centre where the funeral was being held.

It was such a beautiful place with a huge pond full of newts and tadpoles with lots of rushes and aquatic flowers. There were brilliant blue dragonflies zooming around and the atmosphere just oozed hope and vitality.

We both worried about what we were wearing because the dress code was ‘not black’ and paranoid about being scruffy I went with white 3 quarter lengths and a chocolatey brown cotton collarless shirt top thing.

Tamara looked lovely and baby Brian, well he was not too worried about what he was wearing.

I was honoured to push Cathy’s Bier (handcart) and transfer her from Bamfa (not sure of spelling) otherwise known as the ‘beathy bus’ to her final resting place. I can only remember the name of Ness and Mike who were also bearing the cart but it was a curious feeling. A mixture of pride to be assisting and sorrow at her loss mingled with happiness that she was free from pain and being buried in such a gorgeous place. My real feelings of sadness are for Mike, her husband. I hope that I/we as a group of people can support him when he wants and needs it.

Cathy was ensconced in a woven wicker casket and the whole burial was ecologically sustainable. 

http://www.sustainability-centre.org/

The journey from the bus to the plot concluded, some words were said at her grave side. Mike read a lovely poem and Ness gave a heartfelt speech. A few other folks spoke up to express their feelings and the atmosphere in that wood was one of love and sadness.

I helped the other bearers lower Cathy into the ground before we stepped back to allow everyone chance to say goodbye. It was especially sad to see the older generation weep for their lost daughter, burying anyone you love is not easy, particuarly your child. I can only hope it is a sadness that I do not have to bear one day.

Tamara introduced baby Brian to his aunty Cathy before we headed back up to the cafe. There followed a few more words and a really tasty vegetarian buffet. The staff at the centre were so kind natured and helpful.

As sad as it is to say goodbye to someone, especially someone you thought you had a bit more time to get to know, being in such a positive environment made the whole event much easier to bear. I fully appreciate that Mike may not feel that way because I do not think I have ever known a couple so utterly dedicated and in love with one another.

We staged a Beathy reunion photograph, hopefully I will recieve a digital copy so I can paste it up here.

I got home from London after dropping Tamara and baby Brian off at about 11:15pm so having written this, I think it is time to go to bed.

Much love and Purkiness to all.

Sleep well in the woods, Cathy. xxx