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"Death Gives Us Far More Than It Takes Away”

Archa’s Story of her Mum’s Farewell

Mum died tuesday morning at 7 am, full moon. Sans, Yatri, Vimlan, Megan and I spent all night in her room in the hospital, camping out on the floor, and stayed with her to the end. One of us had been with her constantly for the 8 days before too. She did it beautifully and was her lovely self all the way through. We made sure she was comfortable, and if she looked distressed we got her more diamorphine. But she didn't need much, and for the last 7 hours needed nothing. She waited till we were all asleep on the floor – except for Yatri who was by her side, and then she breathed her last breath. There was magic in the room through the whole night – and after.

We told the staff that we were some weird religion and she wasn't to be touched by anyone but us for 6 hours! We didn't tell them she had already died for an hour, whilst we sat with her. It was very beautiful, we had a sense of relief that it was over for her. Then my friend Cara from Arka, the Alternative Funeral Directors, came and she helped me wash her and prepare her body. We then massaged lovely oils into her body, and Sans and Vimlan helped. Clare, mums nurse who came 3 times a week to bath her and take her out for coffee or just chat, came up and was in tears, she felt Mum was her surrogate granny. She and Yatri went off, and chose some clothes for Mum, a pink jumper that Mum loved, even though it had tomato soup stains on the front, and her mauve trousers and socks and shoes.

We then told the medical staff that we wanted to take her home. This shocked them all, and they all ran round like headless chickens! They told us that due to paper work that she would HAVE to go to the hospital mortuary ice box for a couple of days, till the Docs got round to signing the papers. We said “no way” was she going to their ice box, and we would just put her in our car and take her home!!!!

They had never met anything like this before!. The nurses couldn't believe what they had seen over the last days that relatives should pour so much love into a patient ...and then want to take her home. They hadn't dealt with this before. They at once loved it, but were also confronted and flummoxed by it. Anyway the charge nurse eventually took inititative and spent the morning running around, sorting it all out for us, and we got Mum home. Vimlam and Sans and Matthew had come home early and prepared Yatri's front basement with rugs and candles and music and a beautiful Buddha figure and we laid her down on a bed of flower petals, and her leopard rug and pillows were she laid till Friday when we had her 'farewell party' and cremation.

Lots of people came to visit her, talk to her, mediate around her. George, Clare's 8 yr old son, went to see her and after said he was never going to shoot anyone on his play-station again! Dilly and her puppies have visited and run all over her and the puppies tried to nick all the daffodils we placed around her head!! She looked lovely… as cold as alabaster, but a lovely colour, just as though she were sleeping. She had chocolate with her too. The first night I had a bath and put my pyjamas on, and then went down to kiss her good night. It was lovely to have her there, and be abe to go and sit with her, lay next to her. Yatri spent the first night asleep at her feet, and I had a cuddle next to her. I was so glad she was at home and not in an icebox. To be able to go and visit her when we feel, to mediate next to her to sit and drink coffee with friends next to her, to gossip over her, to have time to see and be with her body and really get that it had become just a shell now, this all really helped us to let go.

We had a “Margie Farewell Sherry and Irish coffee and nibbles Party” on the morning of her cremation. Friends arrived and visited her downstairs and then we bought her up in a beautiful bamboo basket (coffin) and put her in the middle of the room on the table. We then had some lovely music, soppy songs, and poems, and we had her surrounded by lots of old photos of her life, people were leaning over her open basket looking at them, it was a bit like 'pick and mix'! There was lots of tears and laughter, and it felt very ordinary. Then 6 guys carried her out of the house and up the road for one last 'look' at her old house, and then into the back of our Mondeo. Megan had cleaned it and filled the back with a lovely cloth and flowers.

Then we took her to the crematorium where a few friends had prepared the room with flowers and candles. We had some more music and songs and then left. We went round the back to hear the oven being turned on (we had asked when she was actually being burnt and they had said in 5 minutes), so we sat there for a bit till we felt that she was beginning to be 'blowing in the wind' and then we left.

The last few weeks have been incredible ...It seems death gives us far more than it takes away. We are taking her ashes back down to Bideford where she was born, in a week or so…

Love, Archa.

Archa runs the well known “Where Two World Meet” workshops in the UK

Where Two Worlds Meet: http://www.where2worldsmeet.org.uk