Updated: Feb 22
A celebration of life
31st July, 2015 at 19:43, the year of your birth, I was blessed to be with you and share your final hours, minutes, and the moments as you took your last breath. That day, I had read you all the messages of love we'd received, massaged your hands, sat quietly and prayed.
I ate my Chinese delivery, on the terrace of your room #11, and it was when that tom yum soup and rice arrived, costing exactly £11, which is all I had in my wallet, that I knew your departure would happen that evening.
You were there in Hong Kong, 11/11/1994, when I switched off your 3-day old first grand-daughters’ life support machine, and I knew that my beautiful Tahlia Jasmine, whose numbers pop up so frequently, was sending me yet another of her sweet and timely messages, that it was your time to go, that she would be there to greet you.
A profound wave of peace, love, and joy washed over me, through me - I feel it now as I type through snot and tears.
Such an honour
To then bathe your body and dress you in white linen trousers, shirt, and drape you in a rose patterned white cloth with Hana, who arrived soon after. We placed sweet flowers in your hair, picked by your grandkids under the light of a super blue moon. The rest of the family arrived to kiss you goodbye. You left in style, it was always your way - grace, glamour, beauty. I'm sorry that you had to leave so early, I'm saddest when I think of you alone on your sofa, patiently biding your time with acceptance of the inevitable - so it is the thing I dwell on the least.
Your end with you in earnest was magic. The Royal Marsden discharged you in March, there was not much more they could do other than sign-post you to MacMillan and the St Raphael's Hospice, and be on the end of the line if we needed to know something.
I am so happy you turned the chemo down. Your colon cancer being in its final stages when it was discovered meant that chemo would simply have given you another 3-6 months. As it turned out, you went all natural, kept your hair, avoided extra side effects, and stretched that to 18 months - bloody well done!
We had some serious belly laugh moments!!! Discussing bamboo coffins with the very serious sounding coffin designer (we know, he was just being considerate) measuring you from head to 'pointed' toe to make sure you'd fit (feet flop when we die) and imagining how comical it would be if you didn't fit, we'd have to cut holes for your tootsies!
Sing your song
You spent time divvying up your jewellery with us girls to keep things fair, making sure our bro received a balanced share with art, and your car, and then you said whatever else is left do whatever you want with as you didn't need anything where you were going. You organised all your papers, all the admin, you listed people you wanted us to invite to your leaving party, you chose your tunes.
Planning your 'celebration of life' with you - wow, what a joy - promising that as the driver of your funeral car, speeding down the motorway was a must, we would not do any dawdling along, and we hoped I'd be stopped by the rozzers and have to explain the dead body in the back - shame that comedy moment didn't happen, but you did take a slightly freaky SLIDE to the left as I took a fast right-hand turn (hilarious Weekend at Bernie's moment for my bro and I)!
We loved visiting 'Ingrid's Coop' with you when Nonna Lory came over, you were so sweet with her, you were so happy I would have my beautiful mother-in-law as my surrogate mamma!
Because you were the first to book a plot at the Eden Valley Natural Woodland Burial Ground in Edenbridge, they named that corner of the site after you - how cool is that! You chose a crab apple tree to mark your grave, there was a pair of woodpeckers nesting in the tree on your corner.