30/01/1930 – 12/09/2020
London originally my mum remained a cockney until her death even though she had lived in Wales since marrying my father in March 1961
My mum was one of twin girls. Her mother died in childbirth with her father dying soon after and her twin dying a couple of months later. She was one of eight children. Spent her childhood living in Dr Barbados homes until she became quite a difficult child for them to manage. She was then put into their mental hospital at age fourteen because she was so traumatized by her start in life she was unable to manage her anger issues. She was finally released ten years later when a kind more forward progressive doctor decided she was not a risk to society but rather a victim of her dreadful start in life. She became an auxiliary nurse in Queens Charlotte’s hospital in London. Where she met and fell in love with my father and married him in 1961. She had my sister Babs later that year whilst living in a flat in the same building as Harry Seacome, who offer helped her carry Babs pram upstairs. My father then had a terrible accident that left him bedridden with epilepsy and totally dependent on my mum. He slowly recovered but was never the same loving husband again. They moved to Wales so my dad could be closer to his sister but my mum never felt accepted here due to her lack of understanding of the Welsh language. She quickly had three more daughters, Joyce, myself and then Michelle. She became quite ill around this time with her asthma and was often hospitalised resulting in us children having to be placed in care as my dad was often in prison for minor criminal activities, which would now have been diagnosed as kleptomania as he never stole anything of great value or of any use. Their relationship was now often complicated by my father’s increasingly violent outburst so my mum finally divorced him in 1979 after he cheated on her. They soon then became firm friends and remained so until his death in 2002. My mum continued to lead a nomadic life never really settling anywhere for long. Her health continued to decline and she never worked again. Her family continued to be very important to her and she was able with my father’s and the Samaritans help to locate her remaining brothers and sisters but apart from my uncle Claude and uncle Gordon she never truly connected with them due to her institutional behaviours. When she was 80 she caught shingles and as a result of this viral infection her memory was affected and she became dependent on my sister Babs and I for her care. She was finally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2004 but was able to remain living in her flat with our help until 2017 when she came to live with my husband and myself. Babs continued to help with her daytime care, as I was working, while I looked after her at weekends and nights. In February 2020 her brother Claude died so I arranged for my mum to have respite care in a residential home while I went to arrange his funeral. On the first day, I received a phone call from the home to say my mum had fallen and was to be hospitalised with a suspected broken hip. The family all rushed to visit her in Royal Gwent hospital after her fall in respite and continued to visit until covid restrictions were implemented. Mum had her hip operation but then caught covid whilst in hospital. Twice we were told she would not recover and were encouraged by medical staff to sign a di not resuscitate form as her heath was so bad. Twice she recovered only to then be transferred to Ysdrad Munych hospital covid ward where we were not allowed to stay with her due to lockdown. In April 2020 I was called into the hospital as my family’s sole representative to again say goodbye to my mum as they believed her death was imminent. I had to wear all PPE and was only allowed an hour with her. During this visit which broke my heart, I was able to encourage my mum to drink some milk and she cheered up becoming more aware of her surroundings and asking me not to leave her again. A kind nurse seeing our distress and my mum’s obvious happiness in seeing me agreed that as she was now negative of covid that she would ask doctors about releasing my mum to my care so mum could die with dignity at home with her family. After several weeks and lots of discussions where I was told this would be for palliative care, I was able to get all the right equipment and nursing care into my home and my mum came home in May 2020. Once home my mum rallied with Babs and I doing the bulk of her care and nursing staff only coming in when called in by us. She began to eat drink sit up then stand up then walk with some aid from equipment or us. We started to take her out again in her wheelchair and she became a part of her local community again. Unfortunately, in September of 2020 she again became ill due to the effects of long covid on her body and this time she was unable to find enough strength to fight enough and so died peacefully in her sleep of undiagnosed coronary heart disease on the 12th September 2020. At home with her loving family around her just as she had always said she wanted to die.
My mum was a strong independent community interested individual. She was not always the easiest person to love due to her many institutional behaviours but she was a loyal mother who always did her best for her family when her health allowed. She was a very private person who did not encourage close friendship with people not often invited into her home. She was however a very kind chatty friendly person who loved being a part of her local community and took a great interest in politics, having many letters from both local and national politicians. She loved her bingo, butterflies and the colour blue throughout her life and we even painted our house blue to help her recognise her home when her Alzheimer’s was at its worst. Her daughter’s all loved her because of her strength and independence although she and I often clashed as I too have a strong personality. She remained a much loved and cared for member of all our families until her death and we have all been left with a huge mum sized hole in our lives and are all struggling to come to terms with our loss. She remains a much-loved mum, nan and great nan and will remain so for as long as we exist.