On July 6, a day before my birthday, Liz died. She had just been out to buy me a present and was making a cup of tea in our kitchen. We had returned a few days earlier from a holiday with friends – walking, swimming, sailing. She said’ ‘I’m going to faint’. She never regained consciousness. Nicky was there with her, home from Egypt. Nicky wrote recently:
‘‘I watched my mum die, which was a process of pure darkness, but I was able to walk into the light by planning and executing the burial with my family without an undertaker or funeral director.”
Liz had always said that she wanted to return to mother earth when she died. To become compost she said. Our children and grandchildren decorated her cardboard coffin. We found a beautiful woodland overlooking the mountains and the sea where we could have the burial ceremony.
The process we have been going through, individually and as a family, has been profound. The shock at first was almost unbearable. The grief erupted in thick waves daily. Nothing was getting in the way of experiencing this profound agony. The love and support of family and friends was so important. So was nature and over the past 18 months of quiet and calm at Nab Cottage Liz and I had rooted so deep into the earth. And now it feels for me as if we have merged, become one, my body animating her spirit, feeling her presence very much alive in the valley and the cottage.
And from this has grown the intention to honour the many glorious features of this beautiful woman. Ellie, Nicky and Hannah, along with so many of the teachers who have been involved at Nab over the past years, have supported me in opening up the school for one final summer. In 2022 we plan to run our usual courses, bring in 2 new ones we have been planning since 2019, and celebrate.