Saturday, June 12, 2004

The Bad News

The week got off to a very bad start when we got a phone call at about 3:00 a.m. on Monday morning.

We were both deeply asleep, but as I swam up to the surface of wakefulness, Judith was already on her way downstairs. You know when you get a call at that time of day that its not good news, and by the time I got downstairs so much was clear. Judith's mother, aged 67, had died in her sleep in her nursing home.

Whilst it was unexpected, in as much as there had been no indications she was ill, she had nevertheless been in care for several years, and had had a series of minor strokes, so it was not a surprise.

We travelled up to Birmingham on Wednesday to meet with Judith's brother Bruce at the funeral home in Stirchley. Judith was able to see her mother in the chapel of rest, and that did a lot to help her come to terms with her bereavement. As did seeing her brother, and dealing together with the nuts and bolts of funerals.

Interestingly, Bruce expressed to me the same suspicion I had had - that the fact she died the night after the 60th anniversary of D Day may not have been coincidental. As often happens with stroke victims, Madge could remember vividly events from her youth during the war, and the happy days she spent with Judith's dad, Harry, who died in 1997.

He had been in the vanguard of the bomb raids on Caen. We both wondered whether the D Day commemorations called all this back to mind so vividly that Madge decided enough was enough, that she missed Harry and saw no point in carrying on her non-life in a nursing home.

We'll never know, of course, but the thought is a compelling one.

The funeral and cremation will take place in Birmingham next Thursday.


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