So on Thursday morning at dawn, my mother died. My sister and I had received what we, for years, had termed 'the 5.30 am call'. It means, in our family, a cry for help from one of the tribe, delivered as 'early as decent'. In this instance the message was simple - 'If you want to see your mother alive, come now'.
|A Cry From One of the Tribe|
Over hot tea and buttered toas, we came to our senses and pelted down the platform for the first train out of Paddington Station, London, to a destination in the far west of Britain.
|The First Train Out of Paddington|
|Where She Could Hear the Seagulls|
|Flowers in Her Hair|
After she passed over, I had the great privilege of helping to lay her out, instructed by two ladies, Kerry and Diana, who did a stunning job. Oiled and anointed, with flowers in her hair, she looked almost like a young girl again. Then, with the kind of tact only British bureacracy could manage, a psychotherapist called Candida telephoned from the local hospital. Mother had, she said, seemed a little depressed during her last visit to hospital. Would it help if she, Candida came around and had a bit of a chat? "Not really," I replied. "If I'm honest."