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Passing of an era

March 7th, 2009 · 5 Comments

It is with much sadness that we announce the passing away of Mary’s Mum on Sunday March 1st. She has been getting weaker progressively over the year, so we had expected it but that doesn’t make it any less sad. She passed in dignity in her room in the home in Oban and with the company of her oldest daughter Barbara. She faded slowly in the last week and all those that made plans to see her were able to get to her bedside before she died. Mary knew she was saying her goodbye when she visited in January this year.

One of the joys of fitting out Giselle in the spring of last year was visiting mum. The boat was at Barcaldine which was just 8 miles from Oban. She was always very pleased to see you and made a huge effort to engage in witty conversation. Occasionally stories would repeat but usually she could remember what bits she had already told you. The stories were of the hospitals she had worked in before and during the war and the whims of the various doctors. Lots of details – I wonder if I will be able to recall the details of my 20s in the 2040s! Her unit was at the forefront of plastic surgery and she was in charge of the nursing. He was in one of these hospitals that she met Campbell who was there as a patient.

I was privileged to travel with Campbell in the year before he died in 1986. The topics of conversation can be very different in a car when you know you have time to complete a long story. He told me just small parts of his time in the war. He told of getting off the beach in the west of France only just in time – the Argyll and Sunderland Highlanders, or at least his part had not left at Dunkirk but had made their way all across France. He told of landing in Africa amidst a lot of confusion and he told of moving up the middle of Italy. I have strong memories of his funeral. At the cemetery just outside Lochgilphead his and now to be both of their graves is up against the west wall nicely protected from the wind that can be fierce on this flat piece of land. I was asked to lower cord number 4. The funeral directors, MacDonald and Coulson, had cards printed which they filled in your name and position. I still have mine. It has been in my purse since that day. I wonder who will be number 4 for Mum. I see my card is pre-printed with a Mr. Is it a tradition for this task to be a male task – perhaps Andrew will perform this task? The children have been amazing at taking up the emotional and contact tasks we have left undone because we are too far away. I will miss not being at the funeral. I hope there aren’t larger prices to be paid for following my sailing dream.


Tags: Atlantic Leg · Friends & Family

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Glenys // Mar 10, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Dear David and Mary,
    What a wonderful eulogy for a special person who was always so much part of your family life and adventures. My thoughts are with you and all the children.
    I send my love as you journey on and continue your travels.

  • 2 Heather // Mar 13, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Just a wee note to say thanks Mary, but I really did not mind, and the barter system is a great thing, will let you know how I get on with the Sewing services! just have a ball….safe journy.

  • 3 Michael // Mar 16, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    David, Mary.
    Very sad news and I am sure you both wished the timing was different. She was indeed a lovely person and I will always remember her with fondness. Always smilling and always happy to see you regardeless of how she really felt.
    David she’d be proud to read your eulogy and I am sure she can now follow of your progress better and indeed watch over you both for the rest of your travels.
    Stay safe and keep smiling.

  • 4 Tony // Mar 29, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    Dear David and Mary,
    I have just logged on to your site for the first time for a while. I am sorry to read about your mother Mary. We only met her once or twice at your “Starry gazers (?)” do’s, and as you say she was ready and happy to talk to anyone. It is difficult when you are so far away and knowing that Andrew and Co are having to cope without you, but no doubt they will.

    Hope all is still going well. I will lo.ok at the more recent postings now


  • 5 Liz Black // Apr 5, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Dear David and Mary,

    I was so sorry to read of your sad news – not easy when you are far away from a loved one.
    “Memories last forever”

    It sounds as though your sailing adventure is going really well – lots of fun and sunshine.

    Happy and safe sailing.