Friday, August 21, 2009

Pamela Carter RIP

A couple of years ago, Mr G and i 'adopted' an old couple.

I've told the story before of how we passed her (Pam) struggling on the street with heavy shopping attached to her wheely walking stick. It was a cold Boxing Day and just after we saw her, Mr G said we must help her. We turned around and offered to help her home. She was lovely. Very interesting and bright - i've since found out she was then in her late 70's. She and her husband lived in a nearby basement apartment and had no children.

At the time she felt like the ghost of Xmas future. I started taking her a newspaper in every other Saturday and have done so for the last couple of years. Two and a half to be exact. As she and her husband (George) were both heavy smokers, i have visited less often in the last 18 months but still tried to make sure we got that newspaper to them every other week. She's white, English born and bred and her husband is from Trinidad. As their marriage would have been unusual - to say the least - in the 1960's when they wed, they had become a little reclusive.

A few months ago Pam let on that she had terminal cancer. She never, ever complained and rarely admitted to being in pain. Her niece - who i've come to be very fond of too - worked hard to get Pam proper medical care and a few weeks ago Pam was admitted to a hospice. I was able to take Barney in to see her there and he brought a smile to her face.

On 7th August, 2 days after her 81st birthday, Pam passed away. I visited twice the day before. She was barely conscious but i touched her arm and told her that her niece would be there the next day to see her. (Her niece lives about an hour's drive from Lond.on) 5 minutes after her niece sat down and took Pam's hand, Pam let go and slipped away. She was in so much pain by then it was a blessing.

I felt sad, but it wasn't until her funeral last week that it really hit home. I watched George sitting in a wheel chair - he was admitted to a different hospital just after Pam was taken into the hospice with non life-threatening problems. He also has severe dementia and is struggling with her death. He only saw her once in the hospice. He was sobbing and unable to say anything other than "Pam was great" in his Caribbean twang. It broke my heart. Mr G and I were both in tears.

After the funeral we found out that Pam had left us each £1500. We were shocked. I'm still not sure how I feel about that. We "adopted" then purely because we liked them and wanted to help. If i'm honest there was an element of "there but for the grace of..." about our actions. My husband is a kinder and more charitable person than I am but I try to do my best with actions.

It's been an emotional month.


JJ said...

Oh Portia, Im sorry for your loss...sounds like you all really bonded with them.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for your loss, Portia.

Betty M said...

I am sorry for the loss of your friend.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for this loss. Obviously you were very much appreciated.


Nearlydawn said...

So sorry to hear of your friend passing.

It is great that you were able to shine some light on her later years and provide some friendly comfort. She obviously appreciated it greatly - as signified by her gift to you guys.

It strikes me that people from that era do not give money lightly. My romantic side imagines it was her way of bestowing a real honor on you.