Saturday, May 05, 2007



Make that two

Yesterday, my husband's aunt died. Today, less than 24 hours later, my own uncle joined her at the pearly gates.

Howard had cerebral palsy, but - proof that our family has long-living genes - he still made it to the grand old age of 81. He lived with my grandmother until about 25 years ago, when she herself was in her mid-eighties. Then he went to a home for the disabled, where he became the longest-standing, and the oldest resident.

Again - in keeping with the rest of the family - he had creativity in his genes. He used to re-cane chairs for a living, in his younger days. Nana had a long shed in her back yard, and that was his workshop.

When I was a child, he had a motorised invalid carriage (nothing like the scooters everyone rides these days!), in which he'd ride down to the sea-front in Broadstairs, just to enjoy the view.

He used to have a "writing teacher" - I suppose she was what we'd now call a literacy tutor - but I strongly suspect that he was dyslexic before it was a diagnosable condition. His intelligence was in no doubt - he could beat anyone at a game of draughts!

The family genuinely believe that Howard was partly what kept Nana going. He was company for her, and she knew he depended on her. She wasn't at all happy - and neither was he, particularly - when she became more frail and he had to go to the care-home.

Because it's a public holiday this weekend, neither death can be registered until Tuesday. I think it's highly unlikely I'll be able to go down to Kent for the funeral. Apart from which, I have responsibilities here. Similarly, my mother can't leave my frail, very infirm father on his own - and another of her brothers can't leave his own wife on her own because she also needs looking after. Howard's funeral will of necessity be small. But it's still a sad time for the family. Of the seven siblings, he's the first one to go.

Image of lilies thanks to http://www.olegvolk.net/
I hope that http://www.mvgazette.com/ doesn't mind my using the chair re-caning picture, which reminds me very poignantly of Uncle Howard in his younger days.



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