Barbara Elsie McKenzie 14/02/1938-1/8/2016
This post is in memory of my Mother Barbara. She had been very ill for many years and was in a care home for the last 7. Those who have been in this situation will know that the death of your relative is a lurking fear. Barbara had Dementia and visits were unpredictable but sometimes mum was there and sometimes she was not. In the end I suspect death was something of a relief for all concerned, especially Barbara herself. She had been strong and confident in life and the woman who was in the care home was a mere shell, institutionalized and often scared of events and fears which her mind created itself. It was a relief too that myself and my sister did not have to see her slip further and further into the past. The stroke which finally took her was mercifully quick doing it’s work and gave her peace she had not known for many years.
Barbara was born Miss B E Rochester. She had a challenging early life having been born with a Hare lip and cleft palette. They were corrected but she was very aware of them and when her grandchildren were born was terrified that she would pass them on. At 19 she married Donald Kenneth Rayner. My Sister was born in 1958 and I followed in 1961. My Father died in 1972. Barbara rose to the challenge this presented and trained as a book keeper but she didn’t really come into her own until she trained as a warden of an old people’s home. On her retirement she was warden of two such places. She was also married during this period to Christian McKenzie though personally I feel that the marriage was not a happy one and I prefer not to dwell on it.
It was also at about this time that my first Marriage foundered. My mother welcomed me back at, for me, a very dark time in my life. To her credit she did not even think twice, it had been my home and I came back to it. I will always be grateful for that. She also welcomed Carol, my second wife, into the family with open arms.
After Chris died mum lived alone for a few years and saw her grandchildren growing up.
The decline in her health came suddenly and she was placed in the home 7 years ago as she needed constant care. She had several visits from my Grandchildren towards the end. Sometimes I think she wasn’t aware of who they were but, being Mum, welcomed them anyway. We visited as often as we could but I felt it was not enough. The home was a fair way from here and life is hectic. Still we went as often as possible.
She died at 10.30 on the first of August. It is coincidental that this was my Father’s birthday. She was cremated on 17/08/2016.
As an atheist I cannot allow myself the luxury of thinking we will meet again, though the jury is out on reincarnation or other forms of rebirth. I don’t pretend to know what is in store when we die. It may be I am wrong and there is a God but I must be true to my beliefs no matter that entails. Maybe it is our only destiny to rejoin the eco system.
I do believe that, as long as a person is remembered they do not fully die, and Barbara will be remembered by many. She was a good mother and, after my father died, led a life of service to others. I would just like to thank her for my life and that of my children. It may be that a part of her will live within the minds of future generations. Goodbye Mum, maybe we will meet again but you will be missed.
Mum Dad and big sis.