23/12/2016 by Carl Reynolds
Kate’s Mum, Judith died a couple of weeks ago. Our household has had trips to work out of necessity, to sick parents ailing now for a while, to the funeral of a mother; here, there and everywhere in mind and body. Judith’s death is a surprise blow. Kate reels from knowing that she’ll never have another conversation with her Mum or know that she’ll be there with a maternal shoulder to cry on. She got on well with her Mum, and tears flow.
I’m standing outside Edinburgh Waverley station looking the daybreak colours in the sky overhead. And as I think of my ill father, I weep for Judith. As I grow older and the more people I know die, the more I am aware of mortality. Mend your fences, listen, talk, share today. Why wait? Forgive yourself, you did what you could at the time. You learn. The loss is deep felt. It’s a joy in life to find someone else wondrous, woven into your family. And sad to have had just a few years of her company.
A few days rest in Brixham for Kate and I, and two needed dips in the edges of the ocean – one in Fishcombe and another in the midst of the Torbay Shoal, out at Cantina for their Christmas party. And to Shrewsbury.
We spend four nights in Judith’s house, packing, sorting and reminiscing. I am a little nulled by it all, but especially the municipal waste dump. It feels like I am pouring a life away. I console myself with the thought that I am privileged to have seen her life up close and in it’s detail. And before going back, to a swim in the Shrewsbury town pool. I am with just a handful of mostly head up breaststrokers in a lovely 33m long pool, with a deep end for diving. The Quarry Pools have a 33m, 25m, 19m and 10m pool. Schools have the 25m mostly, so the main pool is easy to swim in without getting in anyone’s way. I have two swims whilst here – smooth, in a meditative reflection, easing out the tension of sadness and grief with each stroke. Indulging in, and determining to continue doing, slow breaths; 3,5,7,9 breathing patterns and duck diving, floating and twisting gently round and round in the deep end.
Swimming as flow. Meandering around the thoughts, feelings and impacts of living. I can recommend it.
Judith’s funeral was on 19th December 2016. She was 89 years old. Survived by her sons and daughters Kate, John, Paul and Lucy, and grandchildren Helen, Alice, Jared, Brynn, Ethan and Bradley. An artist all her life – whether on the canvas or in embroidering an adventurous life out of early adversities – Judith painted and taught art and living life delightfully to the day she died asleep in her comfy chair. She is remembered affectionately by her family; the network of artists, administrators, gallery owners, hoteliers and legion others who crossed her path; and her other friends and neighbours from Cheshire, Essex, Rutland and Salop.