Friday, July 28, 2006

All Things Must Pass

Sarah Helen Miles (née Chalkley) died today at around 12.30 in the afternoon. I got the chance to see her for the last time yesterday. Her hair is still brown, uniquely, amongst the women in the hospice, which suggests that perhaps she died too soon, but if you'd seen her, unconscious and struggling for breath you'd know that the end couldn't have come soon enough.

Cancer has a bad reputation. But while it has taken both of my parents from me I have been spared much of the heartache that this disease can cause. My father was pretty much himself the day before he died, and I am lucky that I can remember him like that. The secondary tumour on my mother's brainstem meant that she was significantly incapacitated the last couple of times we were together. But again I can count myself fortunate that less than three weeks have passed between diagnosis and death. Enough time to prepare oneself, and to say goodbye. "Oh well," she said to me, after we got the bad news but while she was still compos mentis, "a short life, but a graceful one."

Whether or not she led a graceful life might be open to debate, but I truly hope that she believed that she had. She was a good mother, and she loved us all.


Mrs. MLB said...


May you find peace knowing her suffering is over. Graceful indeed. All mothers are graceful in their own right.

Love & prayers from across the pond and that big wad of land called the U.S.


jb said...

my prayers are with you and yours.

Gaijinity said...

In lieu of a sympathy card (geography and practicalites being what they are) and in celebration of a beat that goes on elsewhere:

hen somebody dies, a cloud turns into
an angel, and flies up to tell God
to put another flower on a pillow.
A bird gives the message back to
the world, and sings a silent prayer
that makes the rain cry. People dis-
appear, but they never really go away.
The spirits up there put the sun to
bed, wake up grass, and spin the
earth in dizzy circles. Sometimes you
can see them dancing in a cloud during
the day-time, when they're supposed
to be sleeping. They paint the rain-
bows and also the sunsets and make
waves splash and tug at the tide.
They toss shooting stars and listen to
wishes. And when they sing wind-
songs, they whisper to us, don't
miss me too much. The view is nice
and I'm doing just fine.

Take care, Tom Miles.

jd said...


Words are never adequate in times like these. I'm sorry for your loss -- and hope the memories of your mum's grace will buoy you through the sadness until you can laugh again.

May she rest in peace.

williamw said...

i found myself reading your blog; sorry for your loss and 'de sterkte'(dutch for 'have strength') for the coming period in your own life.

Funny girl said...

Truly sorrow for your loss.I came in here while searching for preparatory notes on how to deal with losing a parent.My dad's taken ill and I am finding it tough to accept his declining health but have to come to terms with somehow.