The End of the Rainbow

A MESSAGE FROM LUCY’S FAMILY

Rainbows don’t last forever, and sadly, nor did the joyous, multi-coloured romp which was Lucy’s crazy life.

She saw the sunshine and rain which make the rainbow as symbolic to her life, which was a mixture of laughter and tears, often at the same time.

But with her warm-hearted and lively personality, very often her sorrow was expressed in private, while her happiness was shared with everyone.

Lucy wouldn’t have chosen to go yet, but she felt she had already achieved everything she wanted to in life.

She had married the man she truly adored, had a wonderful family who made her proud, was loved by her many friends and respected by everyone who knew her. Apart from the ones who thought she was barmy.

She had lived abroad, had interesting and unusual jobs, run her own business, appeared on TV for her ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ and written a book.

Towards the end of her life, she had found her perfect home at Rainbow’s End, and added the beautiful cottage garden which gave her so much pleasure.

Knowing that her time was limited meant she had the chance to say goodbye to us all in the ways which meant most to her, including creating amazing treasure chests for her grandchildren, throwing a ridiculously-lavish and unforgettable Wizard of Oz party for Sarah’s 18th birthday and sharing a lifetime of memories on her blog.

We know she would have wanted to thank everyone again for the astoundingly generous support and help you all gave her during her last months.

Her death would always have come too soon, but perhaps in that loss we have all found the true gold at the end of the rainbow – the knowledge that our memories of Lucy won’t be of the way she died, but of the way she lived.

When we think of Lucy, we will remember her washing a skunk in the kitchen sink, turning an entire room into the North Pole, chasing an escaped vulture while giving a radio interview, or desperately trying to wrap a hundred Lucky Dips in the middle of the night.

Or maybe it would be her turning up at Sarah’s school assembly to sing and dance in a homemade Olaf the Snowman costume, running down the garden naked and falling into a pile of stinging nettles, or convincing an entire zoo audience that a dead cockroach called Fluffy was simply asleep.

Lucy’s final wish to us all was, “If you see a rainbow, smile and think of me.”

rainbowflowers

Flights of Fancy

Dear Angels

As you will know, I’m not one for flights of fancy, especially ones with feathery white wings!

But while I was in hospital it seems I couldn’t avoid you, not that I was trying to.

First of all my lovely friend Karen sent me a cute card:

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Cute angelic wishes ❤

Next (don’t laugh) I kept hearing marvellous angelic songs being belted out like big numbers in a musical showstopper! The nurse very kindly described it as something along the lines of “auditory hallucination”. I translated this to mean “Lost the plot, hearing things, bless ‘er”.

That brush with angels made me realise that my two all-time favourite films are City of Angels and Almost an Angel. Closely followed by Michael, all very different but seemingly coincidentally all about you!

I particularly loved the concept in City of Angels that you are not human, dead or otherwise, spirits or ghosts. You are a completely separate entity. A being living within the same world as us (though not visible to us) messengers who work for God but like those faithful humans who believe in Him, you respect and honour/worship Him. I love that idea.

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A completely new concept in City of Angels

Then when I came out of hospital I gave Sarah the model of you that she will be able to whisper to in order to send me (and her Daddy) messages when I’m gone. It’s completely soppy … and I don’t care!!! 😛

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Sarah loves her new angel
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Close up – the words say “Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy” 

Thank you angels, for giving me comfort (however sentimentalCity of Angels, zanyAlmost an Angel or downright hilariousMichael) at the time I need it most.

Lots of angelic love,

Lucy xxx 🙂

A Rainbow’s End hoggie record!

Dear Hedgehogs

So, this evening you have surpassed yourselves!

Tonight there were FIVE of you all enjoying the hedgehog muesli and mealworm mix! That’s a Rainbow’s End record. 🙂

My friend Debs managed to snap three of you at one time. You don’t seem bothered by us sitting a couple of feet away, all the lights on, chatting away to each other! Sadly Debs couldn’t quite believe it so didn’t like to use her camera flash for the first few photos, hence the slightly poor quality.

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Three of the five hoggies

I’m so excited because you’ve even begun to investigate the little “Prickle Pit-Stop” house! Genuine pic not available so I’ve photoshopped what one of you peering out looked like (not very well, really, but it shows how cute it was!)

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From the look of this dreadful photoshopped effort it would appear that the Prickle Pit-Stop has lights which illuminate the hedgehogs as bright as if it were daylight!

Of course, the increase in hedgehogs goes hand in hand with the increase in mealworm costs, but dear little hoggies, you are most welcome 🙂 ❤

Debs was so thrilled to see you all, but I can’t say I blame her. I see you every night and I still get a real buzz each time – I couldn’t ever tire of watching you for as long as you want to visit!

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A magical moment – a hoggie next to a little fairy door!

Thank you all for coming 🙂

Love from Lucy xxx

My Rock

Dear Amanda

I’m devastated not be able to write a lovely long letter, and although your birthday is soon I needed to get it done now, just in case.

You have been my rock throughout this awful time and I cannot thank you enough for everything, especially for giving me two gorgeous grandsons and for caring for my son the way that you do. 🙂

I hope you know that there was so much to say, and yet I’m just not up to writing it.

Sincerest apologies, and I love you with all my heart.

Love from Lucy x

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My absolute all-time favourite photo of my beautiful daughter-in-law ❤
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A wonderful, caring wife and mother

Return to Rainbow’s End

Dear Rainbow’s End

It’s so good to be home!

In the hospital I kept thinking of how Dorothy feels in The Wizard of Oz. When she returns to the farmhouse she tells Auntie Em “It wasn’t a dream, it was a place, and some of it wasn’t very nice but most of it was beautiful. Still, all I kept saying was I want to go home.”

And that’s how it was. The nurses were wonderful, the NHS treatment was outstanding, everyone was trying their best to make me as comfortable as possible, but all I could think of was how much I wanted to see you again, especially your garden. And believe me, there were several times it genuinely didn’t seem a likely event.

When I got back to you, all my friends and family visited (and continue to do so) and there were flowers and gifts waiting for me – some amazing rainbow gypsophila from Sarah, a funny rainbow umbrella hat (no idea who that was from – if it was you please step up to be thanked!) and still they come. Today an amazing (as yet unphotographed) rainbow fleece arrived, again from an unknown admirer!

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Rainbow gypsophila
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Too small for my head but looks great in my rainbow conservatory!

I have a syringe driver pumping something into me 24/7 but I kept forgetting to pick it up when I moved, so Alice made me a snazzy knitted bag to carry it around in 🙂 My poor swollen feet are also too big to wear slippers or even soft socks, so she also cut a fleece into big soft sock shapes – perfect!

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Thanks Alice 🙂
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My sexy, sloppy socks!

And finally we get to you, my beloved cottage garden.

Most noticeable are the amazing birdie changes. Maybe because you’ve been left undisturbed for a couple of weeks, but loads of new families have arrived! I have pictures of some, but some honourable mentions go to:

  • Glad to see the swallows are back – hooray!

  • When Gobbo the great tit sits on the bird feeder with a blue tit, it definitely reminds me of something

  • Scruffy Buffy the blackbird with very manky-looking feathers over his eyes, feeds his enormous baby patiently

  • There is a sweet but noisy, destructive family of starlings. There appear to be at least 10 babies but I’ve only seen one pair of adults with them and it seems unlikely (though possible) that they’re all one clutch so maybe some have been adopted!

  • Mrs Robina Robin is alone now, though still taking mealworms back to her nest as fast as she can!

I have photos of my other feathered friends.

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Can you believe that Jimmy and Jenny Wren have built a nest in a hole in the wall behind this butterfly bush?  Look how close it is to my bench!  Wrobert and Wrowena Wren are another couple who are nesting further away in the apple tree 🙂
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Do you see the little post box to the right of the summerhouse door?  Kethrine gave it to me and although it’s designed to be a nestbox it never occurred to me that anything would actually move in, yet I can hear several baby blue tits pipping eagerly every time mum or dad return from the bird feeder!

Darling Rainbow’s End, thank you for waiting for me to come out of hospital, and Oh, Auntie Em … There’s no place like home!

Love from Lucy x

PS not birdie, but the other night there was a family of three hedgehogs munching mealworms merrily no more than five feet from where I sat! 🙂

EDIT: forgot to mention the dear little family of sparrows – so common when I was a child, yet getting rarer by the day.  I have mum and dad looking after 5 babies – 3 girls and 2 boys – very sweet 🙂  I call them the Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheeps!

I’ve been incancerated!

Dear Everyone

I hope you haven’t given up on me completely!

I’m afraid I took rather a spiral downwards over the Easter weekend. I’d been waiting so long for my lovely friend Lorraine (she of the Dippy Penguin love affair!) to finally be able to visit Rainbow’s End. So I was incredibly sad and disappointed when, after she’d driven all night from the Isle of Wight, instead of greeting her warmly and giving her a proud guided tour of the cottage, I fell into her arms and said “Oh I’m so glad you’re here – can you take me to hospital please?” 😦

Anyway, she did and I found myself incarcerated (or should that be incancerated?) for more than two weeks.

By the time I could finally escape (having only been able to sneak a teaspoon past the guards so tunnelling took quite some time) I’d had more things wrong with me that I thought possible and been demoted to 24-hour care end-of-life status.

That doesn’t mean I’ve only got 24 hours left (I hope!) just that I’m now getting round-the-clock care.

Right, I have to tell you I’m so poorly now I can only use one hand so I’m afraid most of my remaining posts will have to be a quick message accompanied by some pictures. I hope you’ll forgive me, but I only have about a dozen left to reach my 100 target and I’m determined to do it!

Today’s pictures are of my prison sentence … er, hospital visit 😛

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So glad all of my boys were able to come and see me in hospital.  I honestly thought I’d never get out at one point – this was the best I felt the whole time!
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The hospital was definitely plotting against me.  The green floor was not wet.  The pink floor was not wet.  They were just trying to bar all escape routes!
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I decided to pretend I wasn’t incarcerated but stranded on a desert island.  I failed.
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See what I mean about prison?  Even the sky is clearly just a painted backdrop!
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Friends sent photos and videos to cheer me up.  Or maybe they were just rubbing my nose in the fact that they were out enjoying the gorgeous sunny weather!
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A lovely one Kelly sent to remind me there was definitely something worth escaping for … ❤

Love from Lucy x

Lucy’s Midnight Garden

Dear Readers

I’ve been quite poorly for the last couple of weeks but I’ve struggled out of my sickbed to write you all a quick note – basically just in case those of you who don’t know me personally thought I might be dead!

Look, it’s going to happen at some point, but I simply can’t go until I’ve written all 100 letters – still a dozen to go!

With a couple of additions I shall quote Sir Winston Churchill [did I ever tell you I’m distantly related to him? When I say “distantly”, we’re talking completely untraceable – something like seventh cousin, three times removed, by marriage only!] Anyway:

I’m not sure but … “This is not the end (I hope). It is not even the beginning of the end (maybe). But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

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CHURCHILL: Actually I can see a family resemblance … dagnammit!

The discomfort I’m now in is causing me problems sleeping. It’s very tiresome (and tiring!) but as always I’m trying to find something positive in all the negatives. You know what they say – “When life gives you lemons …” [Nah, screw that – I hate lemons!] but you know what I mean.

And the most positive thing about being awake in the middle of the night, or silly o’clock in the morning, is the magical unseen world of my garden. The magnificent magnolia may be losing its blooms now but the changing season means that so much of the garden is coming back to life. The flowers are springing up everywhere and during the daytime it’s already regaining its summery beauty – and becoming the perfect place for grandchildren and paper aeroplanes!

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Fab action shot – well done James 🙂

But at night it really comes to life. Did you ever read the children’s book “Tom’s Midnight Garden”?  I’ve not actually heard my clock striking thirteen, but the magic is just as real.  A few nights ago I saw no fewer than four hedgehogs snuffling around (it’s costing me a fortune in mealworms!), the foxes yap and the pair of tawny owls romance each other with a “twit” (her) and a “twoo” (him). Unless it’s raining, then of course it’s too wet to woo …

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Wait … did she just …?  I am so fed up with that joke, missus! 

And as the sun begins to rise the joyous Dawn Chorus is deafening – and delightful. Thank goodness I’ve made it to another new day – it truly makes me glad to be alive! 🙂

sunrise
Sunrise – try to imagine this picture with a soundtrack of a thousand birds all singing their hearts out ❤

I’m still not very well, so it might be a little while before I write my next letter, but don’t panic! I’m definitely going to get them all written before I go. And that’s a promise ❤

Love from Lucy x