Friday, 11 September 2015

Six weeks

It’s six weeks since mum fell off her perch.  I had an inkling late last year that she might not have much longer and made a quick trip back to Perth, Western Australia to see her.  Part of that planning involved cruising south to Uxbridge before the March winter maintenance closures. We managed to get a mooring at Packet Boat Marina which is one of the BWML group marinas.  The marina location was carefully selected as there is a direct local bus service from Cowley Peachey to Heathrow Airport.   I flew with QatarAir via Doha.  It seemed more sensible to visit her whilst she was alive rather than racing back to attend a funeral.

She was one tough old bird having survived Scarlet Fever before she was 12 months old and then contracting polio at 12.  Mum was so ill from the latter that she never attended secondary school.  She was always self conscious about her poor education.  Despite that her writing was excellent and she could produce a good conversational letter.

At 87 she outlasted dad by four years.  Amongst other things, he was an accountant who hated funeral directors, claiming they solemnly fleeced the grieving relatives.  Dad spent the last two years of his life trying to minimise the cost of his demise.  Eventually he succeed by donating his body to science.  Mum wanted to do the same but my sister told her she (my sister) felt she didn’t get closure after dad died.  Mum then agreed to a funeral and cremation. 

I used to speak to her every Sunday morning on Skype.  She confessed to me she had always been a poor swimmer.  Her older brothers threw her into the Manawatu River at age 9 and told her to swim or drown.  She made it back to the bank but avoided water thereafter.  Mum then heard the family plan was to take her and dad’s ashes out on my sister’s yacht to scatter them at sea.  She told me in confidence if this were done then during the service I was to call out “You bastards… you know I can’t swim!”

For the last 25 years of her life mum slowly deteriorated physically, chronic leukaemia, cataracts, pacemaker, half one lung removed, gallbladder removed, angina, sciatica.  At 86 breast cancer!  She didn’t need to buy much food.  There wasn’t much room for it after taking all the daily tablets.  Both my sister and optimistically hope (wish) we were adopted. 

Mum and my sister discussed her funeral arrangements.  They decided the song would be “The Carnival is Over” by the Seekers.  I think my brother had it right when he suggested “Bat out of Hell” by Meatloaf would be more appropriate!


The devil would have had his hands full when she arrived!

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