Moving on

Betty’s favourite family photo: that’s me on the left, the one with the muscle.

I went to another funeral yesterday. This time to say goodbye to man called Normal Doust. He was my father’s first cousin and a legendary nice bloke.
It is the allotted time for the Baby Boomer, the time to say goodbye to those of their parents who have lived the long life.
Norman was parent to three fine women and husband to one fine woman.
It has been a tough week for Dousts, because on the previous Friday four of us said goodbye to our mother, Betty Glorvina Doust.
Betty was my mother, mother to three others and wife of the deceased Stanley Roy Doust.
Betty’s final day with her family was a classic: she was funny, chirpy, cheeky, alive. Most of us had been up all night at her bedside and if she saw someone nodding off she would clap her hands in front of him or her and say: “Come on. come on.”
Betty loved the bible and so I read it to her, but made her fill in the gaps:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the ….
She would look up at me, pause, “earth”.
And God said let there be ….
And so on.
The hospital staff opened up an empty ward for family to sleep in on Betty’s final night. Some of us went home to a brother’s farm.
The final hour was tough. It’s not a pretty sight, watching some you love struggle with the finality, but it is, at the same time, an honourable thing to do, to sit with them, and help them through.
My partner had just been through it all with her mother in Holland and she was ready to do certain things that had to be done to ensure the body was ready for the laying out.
And what a laying out.
My mother was an attractive woman and the morticians did a magnificent job. She looked beautiful and peaceful.
Not everybody wants to take a final look, but it is important for me, because I want the last image to be something other than the pain of the going. Betty looked so lovely and peaceful my face exploded in a smile that I couldn’t get rid of.
Luckily for me it was happy funeral, full of laughter and joy at having had such a woman in our lives.
It wasn’t always rosy, Betty’s life, but bringing all that up is no way to say goodbye.
Thanks, Betty.
You too, Norman.

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