Mum's funeral will be held on Friday 11 November at 2.30 pm in Tonbridge Parish Church, Church Lane, Tonbridge TN9 1DA. The service will be followed by a gathering in the church centre, where she has spent many happy hours. For more details about the funeral please go to: http://sueking.muchloved.com/. That website has a place where you can post a thought, story, video or some music if you would like to (and I'm happy to say it is fairly straightforward to do so!).
Dad, Terry, Bern, Paul and I walked into Tonbridge Parish Church this afternoon, and were really touched to see one of Mum's watercolours hanging right by the door. Thanks to lovely Jane Higgs we were able to set a date for the funeral, which will be in the afternoon of Friday 11 November. I will post all the details here when we know them.
Mum died peacefully at 8.15 am this morning. "There is my child, called by my name to trust me. I keep you in perfect peace when your mind is fixed solidly on me". These were the words I was reading to Mum at the moment her breath faded away.
Mum has been labouring for every breath overnight. She is from strong Dalison stock and is still with us but perhaps not for long unless something changes. She seems to be at peace. We are reminding her of the glory to come.
Knowing how many of you have enjoyed Sue and Joe's home - for family gatherings, home group meetings, quiet garden days and spiritual direction - here are some photos. Don't miss the one of granddaughter Anais flying
In a letter to Mum this morning, dear friend Corinne wrote: "I remember you saying once that 'believe' meant 'live by' and you certainly live by your faith, a huge inspiration to me and an example I love to watch and hope I can follow". Shortly after reading Corinne's letter to Mum, hospice chaplain Karen dropped by. Karen commented that Mum is continuing to teach us by example. The sick, the weak, the vulnerable show us what it's like to have no power. By receiving with grace, Mum is allowing the best in being human to express itself - through practical care, through words of solace, memories and tribute, through all of you cradling her in your thoughts and prayers.
A photo I wanted to post from my most recent visit to G Sue and Joe's house. Always thinking of you both. Love from Ben. Forever your Grandson.
Mum just said she would like to post an update here. Her message: "Thank you for all your lovely messages. It's good to have feedback. I feel cradled in your thoughts and prayers".
I've realised that I can share some of the messages I've been sent by posting them on your behalf. I just read Tina L's message (see Guestbook) to Mum, in which Tina says "I remain overwhelmed by her gracious and unique style". Mum said "I feel overwhelmed too" referring to the many heartfelt messages of love, gratitude and tribute she has received.
By the way, to use the Guestbook, I think you first have to register an account. You'll be sent an email to confirm your email address. However, you can simply send the message to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll post it for you.
More pain today, so a higher dose of pain relief is making Mum more drowsy, but thankfully peaceful at the moment. Merle, a loyal friend from church, visited yesterday. Merle said she spoke to Mum about "meeting Jesus soon and the glory to come"
Good news about the Guestbook. There was a bug which meant that your messages were not getting through to me to approve them. This has now been fixed. For those of you patient enough to retype a message, please try again. It will be lovely to hear from you.
A page from the book 'Psalms for Praying'. Mum has annotated every page like this.
Mum very alert yesterday afternoon and overnight. The lovely thing about that is she has been able to enjoy family visitors, to eat and to watch the final of Bakeoff.. The downside is that she is more unsettled and anxious to be up and about. May she receive the grace to accept where she is and may those caring for her have the wisdom to help her.
Mum is more asleep today but still had some moments to connect with visiting family members. Her sister Bridget is here for her second visit and grandchildren Anais and Alexis have taken time out from university and work abroad to be here for the last 24 hours.
A message about the Guestbook - your messages don't seem to be getting through sadly. Please email email@example.com and I'll pass on your message to Mum and the family.
The hospice has incredible support for family members as well as patients. Today I had a heavenly hour of reflexology with the lovely Ruth - a time to relax and let some emotion run free. This is truly holistic, compassionate care.
A lovely surprise in the last 24 hours. Mum has been much more alert and chatty. She's been taking on more fluid and even managed yoghurt and some sips of coffee for breakfast.Bern is back with us after a short trip home to California. A happy day for everyone.
Thank you to everyone who has messaged me to say you had trouble adding comments to the guestbook. It seems this website does not make that easy - sorry about that!
This photo was taken by Terry at dawn yesterday. The sun rising over the orchards opposite the hospice.
A peaceful night. I slept in Mum's room listening to her regular, strong, calm breathing. I read her "The Avowal" by Denise Levertov. "... float into Creator Spirit's deep embrace, knowing no effort earns that all-surrounding grace"
Mum listened to poems from a book called The Heart's Time which she introduced me to. The poems are for Lent and cover some tough subjects including death and of course resurrection. She said she is afraid. May the courage that has sustained her so far be with her now.
I've been with Mum for a few hours this morning. She seems to be able to draw on deep reserves of inner peace - a peace that comes from knowing and loving God. In this she is an example to us all.
The staff at the hospice are taking beautiful care of Mum. She is finding it hard to swallow and is asleep for most of the time. She seems very peaceful.
Now that the doctors have had the chance to observe Mum for 24 hours or so, they tentatively confirmed what we expected and feared - that the decline we have seen since the weekend is likely to continue. But one thing all the staff have commented on is how calm and still she is. Keep her in your thoughts and prayers.
Mum moved to the hospice today. Dad described it as heavenly - a really good description. We know she is in very good hands.