Ah, my adoptive Irish-Italian-Jewish granny died of lung, lymph and liver cancer Wednesday morning around 4.30am. My mum and step-dad had driven up to Ecclefechan near Lockerbie to be with her on Monday, and she deteriorated rapidly over Monday and Tuesday. Apparently, she bent down to pick something up on Sunday night, couldn’t get back up and was stuck there for three hours.

It’s odd because she was possibly the strongest-willed person I’ve ever met; My mum and step-dad were with her on Tuesday night. She was obviously on the way out, had the morphine drip to stave off the pain, and my parents had been just praying that she’d go. Her friend Nancy (who works in an old folk’s home, and hence was used to it) just said “the heart’s too strong.” It’s soppy but then people are.

Rita’s already booked a piper for her wake (she hated bagpipes, but as she put it “I won’t be feckin there”) and she organised her cremation a couple of weeks back. Impressively, she bargained the funeral director down from £1,500 to £60. When he insisted that he needed all that cash to organise the ceremony, tidy the house, she said she didn’t want any of that, she’d done that herself all he had to do was drive her down to the cremation, and then ‘just burn me.’ Then she had a long go at him about exploiting the grieving. As I said, strong-willed. What she was planning to do with the saved cash isn’t clear.

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