Mam died at 2am on Thursday 26th January 1989. She had been ill for sometime, but it was not until her appointment with the specialist for varicose veins on the 5th December that yellow jaundice was apparent. Gaul stones where detected and tests made, both at Grantham and Leicester Hospitals. The operation, to remove the stones, was performed on the 22nd December. The surgeon found that her liver was cancerous, and could not complete the operation.
Since her admission to hospital her health had been getting worse, particularly her tummy was swelling with the small amount of food that She ate. This was accompanied by a drastic lost of weight. The surgical wound opened, and she lost fluid though this. Her weight continued to drop.
She remained cheerful at the hospital, always having something to say to the hoards of visitors that came. She wouldn't let them get morbid. Some staff thought she didn't really understand how ill She was, because She continued to behave so normally. She knew, and had considered everything in her own calm way.
The drugs relieved her from most of the pain, but She wouldn't let anyone see anyway.
After New Year She was sent home. Dad had been off work for several weeks, visiting her daily at the hospital, spending most of his time at her bedside. Now he looked after her at home.
She began to have difficulty eating, and refused food, then couldn't take fluids. This continued for over a week before She was re-admitted to hospital. The nurses and auxiliary staff all came to see her and say hello. The other patients must have wondered WHO was getting this royal treatment.
Mam and Dad didn't go out much. Even so they managed to touch the lives of the people that they met. Always ready to help out.
Even on holiday, in Spain, Italy, back 'home' in Germany or here, She was always ready to help people who could not speak the language. At work colleagues always fetched her to help 'foreigners', even if She didn't understand their language. She found a way.
Mam first worked at Farens, now the site of WH Smiths, and then at the Co-op. Even years later customers would still stop to speak to her in the street.
She was the kind of person who you got what you saw. A strong willed, determined character that hid a soft heart. Calm in situations that needed it, even if sharp of tongue. She didn't like talking about politics or religion as She claimed that they always lead to arguments. She kept those beliefs to herself; even if She was ready to argue on just about anything else.
Perfectionist in everything She did. Pedantic. Everything had it's place, each job performed with precision. House proud, yet She always made it homely, never a show house.
When She was twelve her father died and She had to grow up very quickly. She supported her mother and looked after her two younger brothers. When her mother became ill and everyone thought she would die, She pushed her through to health.
Mam had already met Dad; he was stationed in Celle with the Royal Air Force. He helped out, doing more than could be expected from relatives.
Dad's patient, tolerant personality balanced Mam's more aggressive, independent nature and organisational skills.
They got married at Grantham Registry Office on 24th March 1952. The Forces refused to give permission, so on his next leave they came to England, got married and then went back to Germany. The RAF put them up in a hotel and they got the best treatment ever. The Church wedding took place in April, in Celle and in September Dad was posted back to England.
They lived in Fulbeck, in Nissen huts, Low Fields, where I was born the following February.
Mam never knew how to relax. On the morning of the day that I was born the midwife found her 'blackening' the fire grate.
I had a strict up bringing, although I had never heard her say so until this year. As long as I can remember I helped out in the kitchen, dusting, in the garden and with the rabbits and chickens. She would give in sometimes, like when, at the age of two I half carried half dragged a kitten home insisting that I could keep it because it was a 'he'. 'He' was Tibby and had kittens nearly every year.
She encouraged me to be independent, yet even recently, when visiting me in Cambridge She would come loaded with food and spend all her time cleaning up my kitchen and rooms. She was disappointed when the house as clean, and complained if She had nothing to do but watch me sewing or ironing.
She never expected that I would go to University, and never encouraged me that way, but offered her support none the less. It was rare to get money from her, but every four to six weeks my parent came over loaded with food and took my washing away. She felt happier knowing what food I ate and that I was dressed clean and tidy. Even when things went wrong for me, She allowed me to find my own way and supported me yet again.
She will be missed by us all. Yet She has not gone. When I left Cambridge I noticed that the plant that She gave me had flowered. She said it would. She will always be there in those mundane things that I do. The things that She taught me. Although She is not here to talk with She will remain forever alive in our thoughts.
Published in The Grantham Journal February 1989
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Last updated 31th July 1996, 3rd July 2009