2 February 2014

Happy Groundhog Day to you all. I hope you all see your shadow (or don’t – I can never remember which event is supposed to mark an end to winter). We could certainly do with an end to our rain – it’s been wet and windy most of the week, just for a change. And, guess what the forecasters are predicting for the week to come? More (and more, and more) rain and more flooding particularly in the south-west and Wales although today is supposed to be bright and sunny, if somewhat on the cold side.

Most of you know that Pen’s mother has been very poorly and in declining health for many months. Weekend before last she went to Penny’s brother in Northampton for a few days and, unfortunately while she was there she had another fall which really knocked the stuffing out of her. She came back to us and since then she has declined quite rapidly. Sadly, she died quite suddenly on Friday afternoon.

beryl_foster_childrenShe had actually seemed a bit better on Friday morning. In the afternoon Penny was with her and they were doing some of the exercises the physiotherapist had suggested. Suddenly Beryl said that she didn’t think she could do any more, sat down on the chair and collapsed into unconsciousness. Penny phoned the emergency services immediately and the critical care paramedic arrived within ten minutes. However, her pulse was very weak and her breathing very shallow and she simply faded away over the next few minutes. Penny was with her holding her hand and telling her how much she was loved and although she never regained consciousness, the end was quick and painless which is as much as any of us could hope for, I guess.

Beryl was an extraordinary woman who lived an extraordinary life. She raised five children of her own and fostered about a million children from Africa and post-war Europe. She travelled all over the world and lived for periods of time in Uganda, Nigeria, Turkish Cyprus, Jamaica, Australia, and France as well as the UK and, of course, California which is where I had the good fortune to meet the wonderful Ms Playchute. She was lively and energetic and full of fun.

She was never one to want any fuss or bother and she did not want any formal funeral or memorial service. She had donated her body to Leicester Medical School and it’s somehow appropriate that she was able to enjoy her 90th birthday celebrations a few weeks ago. As I wrote then, as well as Penny & Jeremy there were six of her grandchildren and five great-grandchildren present and she very much enjoyed the day. She would have found the idea that she was, essentially, able to attend her own wake quite amusing.

She lived an exciting life and witnessed an astonishing amount of change and always made the most of life. She was much loved and will be much missed.

Much love to you all,




One thought on “2 February 2014”

  1. Thanks, Greg. And thanks to Pen for taking such great care of our ‘supermom’ over the past few years.

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