I was just reading David’s story of Hilda, the Queen of our Close, and could not help remembering Mrs O, a neighbour of ours, as eccentric as Hilda; her funeral takes place today.
Mrs O remembered birthdays in our family and rejoiced in watching our children grow into adulthood. She herself was always, as long as we knew her, in fragile health, mentally; this worsened after a fall that left her much less mobile than she had been. Although she had been offered an intensive course of physiotherapy, she never took it up; her self-confidence withered. It was sad to see her deteriorate, but looking after her garden gave me reason to see her day by day. Sometimes she would accept produce from the garden and revive some of the cooking skills which she had been proud of.
We missed her this Christmas for she had been with us for the festive meal for years. Instead we could toast her in soup from her garden – Jerusalem artichoke and leek, a real discovery!
Her end was peaceful; for the last year she had been in an excellent care home, and accepted their care, but was taken to hospital with what turned out to be her final illness. Providentially, a good friend was with her when she died. Chaplains had visited her in the care home and in the hospital.
I am glad we knew Mrs O, that our children grew up appreciating her qualities as well as her frailties. I have no doubt at all that one of the many rooms in the Father’s House had her name on it!
And this morning, as the last of the rain drifted away, there was a rainbow arched over her (earthly) home: a sure sign!