Today has been a really tough day - I have been to two funerals and am sitting here tonight not quite believing that I will never see those two people again.
Kath Morris - 26th Feb 1933 - 24th May 2018:
This morning we said goodbye to a very dear friend and neighbour; Kath lived opposite me and when I first moved into my bungalow 20 yrs ago her and her Husband Dennis made me so welcome and they always kept an eye out on me. They were the sweetest couple and sadly Dennis died two years ago. Kath missed him so much so I am so pleased in one way that they are together again now. She had been poorly for the last few weeks and went from the independent, outgoing lady I first met to a shadow of her former self. She struggled to breathe and after discovering she had pneumonia they tried everything they could but she just could not fight anymore. I saw her in hospital just before she died and am so pleased she recognised me and I gave her a hug and a kiss and told her I would see her soon. I will miss her so much and send much love to her family and friends.
Hazel Mayambo-Kasongo - July 3rd 1956 - May 9th 2018:
This afternoon we went to a very different funeral. This was for a lovely lady called Hazel - she was my boss when I was a Youth Worker and although we lost touch for a couple of years when I moved to another job we got back in touch and she became involved with Wheelchair Basketball. Her Grandson played for Celtic Warriors and then Cheshire Phoenix and Hazel was always at games and supporting us behind the scenes. She was one of my biggest fans and always took an interest in what I was doing.
She was diagnosed with Terminal Lung Cancer in Dec 2017 and this was a complete shock to everyone. She did not lie down and give up - but she fought it and went through the evil Chemo treatment which often made her poorly but sadly she lost her fight.
I have said to a lot of people that going on that Cancer journey with Karen has changed me - and changed me for the better and I found that I could support Hazel and chat to her or hold her hand when she was feeling rough or even hold her sick bowl ! which we laughed about a lot. Last time I saw her she was at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd and was heading off to play a game of bowling on the Wii in the Living Well Centre - that is a lovely memory and I will treasure it.
Her funeral was an incredible celebration of her life - the Crematorium was packed and everyone had bright colours on, including football scarves and brightly coloured hair. It just showed how much everyone though of her. We all had the opportunity to write a little message to her on a post it and her family stuck them on the coffin which I thought was a lovely thing to do.
People often say that a Funeral should be a celebration of someone's life - this truly was and I am honoured to have been part of it and have the chance to say goodbye.
DEALING WITH GRIEF:
Grief is a tough one for all of us to deal with and there is no set way to deal with losing someone - you just have to trust your instincts and make sure you give yourself time to process the emotions. There is no timespan or roadmap you have to follow and don't ever feel that you should be over it by now or that you should not be upset. I know only too well what not dealing with emotions can do to you.
Over the last couple of years I seem to have lost so many people who were dear to me - and I know that as you get older it is inevitable this will happen but whether they are young or old, or whatever the reason they have died, you are entitled to feel how you feel. I have found though that one thing that comes from these losses is a new found closeness with family and friends. Kath was one of the last original residents of Oakfield Avenue and we will feel that loss for a long time to come - but to chat and reminisce with neighbours was lovely and has definitely brought us all closer together.
I thank you for taking the time to read this Blog post - if it has brought along with it some sad memories of Kath or Hazel or someone else you have lost - please make sure you take the time to sit with those memories and emotions, if you can then make sure you tell someone as just talking to someone about how you feel is really healing.
Sending hugs to anyone who is grieving and have faith that in time the painful emotions will reduce and you will be able to remember the good times and the fun.