In Praise of Betty

Nicholas Quirke was considering the Brevity of his weekend and the wisdom of writing about events in in his blog. His Friday was due to start with some PA work, meeting with a dear friend from his past, and then a party at the Royal Academy with Brother Mike for the Summer Exhibition in which a painting of his was being exhibited. The day did not end with his expectations being fulfilled. He was informed that Eileen’s Mother, Betty. his son’s beloved Grandmother ,was facing imminent demise and Nicholas made plans to call in and see her. This change of plan  meant that his client cancelled him, enabling him to spend some of his day with his family at Betty’s side. He was delighted to receive Cole’s book of photography. His arrangement to meet Dawn went ahead and their tea at the Rotunda in Preston Park was full of reminiscence and excitement at having met up again after a 22 year hiatus. He learned that his Brother’s family were facing a similar situation and the plans to attend The Royal Academy Summer were scrapped leaving him again free to return to the nursing home. Everyone in the family was present and it felt like a privilege to be party to such a sacrosanct moment and it really was a memorable family moment sharing stories and laughter as one of life’s beautiful characters was peacefully ending her time in the corporal world. If Betty’s mind was present she must have been enjoying the company and continued to linger. Nicholas had a long day on Saturday beginning with taking breakfast to an exhausted Eileen and Richard who had continued the vigil at Betty’s side throughout  a second sleepless night before his usual morning tea in Nero’s with Cathy. Numerous errands, including the third visit to the store to get his I-pad repaired, were made more onerous as Nicholas was taking pain killers to numb the agony of a suspected muscle strain in his right buttock, and they had dulled his senses and made him somewhat irritable. As it was a matinée day, Nicholas took the train to London and was mildly surprised that it was a smooth, fast journey, He enjoyed both shows immensely and was delighted during a ‘Chorus of Others’ moment, to capture their Director, Scott Graham, in a selfie, who demonstrated what it meant to truly connect with the moment. Nicholas was looking forward to his Sunday in Godalming to celebrate his sister Kate’s birthday and the drive with Harvey, Grace, Cole and Peta, despite its unusual 2 hour duration was fun. Kate, as always proved to be a wonderful hostess and it was lovely to catch up with Katherine Stocks and Miranda. It was a lovely sunny and hot day that bought with it the immense sadness of learning from Eileen that the waiting had finished and Betty had finally left the mortal realm. It was and overwhelming moment for Harvey and Cole who were relieved that their wonderful grandmother was no longer in pain but were devastated that they would never see her happy, loving person again. Nicholas found it difficult to see his children suffer one of lifes inevitable lessons but shifted seamlesly into the parenting role to help them manage the loss and their grief. Nicholas too would miss his time and conversations with Betty who was always full of Irish fire and energy, stories of her family and friends,  compassion and wisdom and humour. It was the end of an era.



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