Tuesday, 4 January 2011
I was going to post about my cousin who died over the weekend at the age of 62. I'd drafted something yesterday but it was so wrong.
Frankly I haven't seen her much recently and my memories of her are of a young girl 50 years ago. I liked to hear her talk because she had a broad Wiltshire accent which had a song in it. When she spoke it was of country lanes and fields.
Unusually for my generation she lived all her life in the same village, a stone's throw from her mother, who,at 93, outlives her. She was a teenage mum and a single parent. She wasn't beautiful, her nose was too big - a Wilkins' feature - but she had the biggest and bluest eyes. She lived in a modest house, drove a modest car and took modest holidays paid for with modest wages.
She was the same age as my mother when she died. That was the first thing we all said when I spoke to my aunt and my cousin's sister. My mother's death was unexpected: a stroke whilst on holiday in Spain. My cousin's was slowly predictable. And it allowed her to plan her leaving. My aunt told me she has left her the most beautiful letter of love and leaving. She died at home with her mother, sister, brother and son around her. She left this life as she had ordered it - except her writ didn't run as far as her brain tumour.
It's not just the grieving for someone close. In Wendy's death it's the loss of that young girl who,all those years ago, in blousy dress, white socks and red sandals , scared me to death with her liveliness. It is also the loss of that young boy who I can just glimpse with his arm around his mother on Brighton beach and laughing with the joy of living.