I have previously written about the travails of the month of November and, perhaps I should have taken account of the fact that Friday 13th wasn’t supposed to be a lucky day. As, indeed, it would prove not to be for my wife’s family. The phone call, from Rachel, a neighbour who cared for Nancy, Gaynor’s mum, was to the effect that her memory had got worse and that she was extremely confused. Thirteen days later, she died, peacefully, at home, just after the vicar had left, with her family around her. Perhaps there is something to that idea that people need permission to die or, at least, that there is a right time to do this. Such was last Thursday evening. If I may interject with a little humour, she even chose half time during the football that I was watching when I received Gaynor’s phone call. Consideration that was typical of Nancy.
So we now prepare ourselves for a funeral and a service at the church in Eyam where she was a regular member of the congregation. It will be a sad occasion but also a celebration of a life, as these services are meant to be. The fact that the church and the, then, vicar were central to the events at the time of the plague in the 1660’s for which the village is best known, add a sense of history that such passings mark. She will be buried in the churchyard alongside Don, her husband and a gentleman of the first order. Appropriate, then, that she was a lady.
We will then try to get on with the rest of our lives. Easier for me, certainly, than for her children who will, likely, take some time to get used to the absence of the person who gave birth to them over half a century ago and was such a central part of their lives. We, the rest of the family, will be there for the support that they need, albeit cognisant of the fact that our hearts have not actually been broken. That support will need to be on their terms, not ours; something that is quite difficult for many of us. It is, however, what we must do to complete the process of grieving.
So thank you, Nancy, for your unfailing personal kindness; it wasn’t unappreciated. In return, I know you appreciated the humour that was often my response. Rest in peace.