Funeral hears how an 89-year-old woman decided to die after being forced from a March care home
A HEART broken daughter has delivered a moving tribute to her 89-year-old mother who died just weeks after being forced out of a March care home.
At the funeral of “Paddy” (Patrica) Beale, writer Liz Wright said her mother had decided to die after leaving Kingswood Park.
She said: “I was devastated when Kingswood Park closure was announced and my mother deteriorated from the time it was announced. She didn’t want to leave Kingswood Park, nor her friends among the staff.
“I think using her strong will power she actually decided to die and without the support of the Kingswood Park staff who knew her so well, she more or less managed it. I respect her utterly for this and I know she did not want to live any longer and for her I am happy.
“For me I am grateful for all the things she passed on to me that make me the person I am and although I am pleased for her she is at peace, she was a huge part of my life and it is true to say I will miss her always.”
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Liz told the congregation at March Crematorium: “My mother had the strongest personality I have ever encountered. It wasn’t until much later in life I dare argue with her, and one look at me as a child and I stopped whatever it was doing, or did whatever it was she wanted me to.
“As a result, I have never been able to understand badly behaved children as it wasn’t in my vision not to take notice of my mother. She did not use physical force, just the strength of her will! So from this she gave me good manners, and I am grateful to her for knowing how to behave in any situation.
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“Yet my mother was always on my side. I knew in the unlikely event I would behave badly enough to commit a crime, my mother would still have loved me and stuck up for me – even though she may have had plenty to say privately.”
Mrs Beale was born just after the first world war to “a rather genteel middle class family who took their social position quite seriously,” said Liz.
She continued: “She behaved like she was the Queen, and it became a bit of a family joke between us all. That’s why I chose the opening music, Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. She was also a stickler for good grammar, which is why I took language for my degree course. She was forever correcting mine and other people’s grammar, and from this I have an automatic ability to structure correct sentences which has been very useful.
Liz said her mother always treated her as an adult in speech and in emoptions. “That was sometimes very difficult as I had to take ultimate responsibility from a very early age for everything I did, every mistake I made.
“But I also loved not being treated like a child, and she used to say to me
“shall I be a proper mum?” and I would say no, no.
“I am sure because of this I am a writer, and as money from that has enabled me to have the house and the ponies again, I am very grateful to her. She wanted me to be an archivist but writing is much more fun!”
Liz continued: “She took me to all the stately homes within quite a radius of London and her knowledge of history was huge. She knew all the kings and queens through history, who they married and the dynasties. She had a fondness for the Black Prince, but her real love was saved for Queen Victoria and her family, who I felt I knew intimately.”
During the war, Paddy worked in a nursery, tomato growing, and she threw herself into gardening with enthusiasm and had the most productive garden and joined the WI. Liz explained: “She wasn’t really a joiner, but she quite liked the WI and predictably, took me with her. I must have been the youngest member.
“My mother and I spent hours walking on Clifton Hills which I think is arguably one of the the most lovely places in Britain with the slowly meandering Ouse. We relished the history, became interested in Ley lines and watched the countryside. Even in London she was a keen on nature, and pointed out the birds, flowers and insects in Osterley Park. She respected life and I knew better than to scream at a spider,
“She was a brilliant cook, and worked at the local butchers making hand raised pork pies.”
Paddy and Liz’s father moved to Chatteris, and Liz says they “enjoyed a volatile” rleationship.
She said: “He really loved her, and spent the rest of his life caring for her. She in turn took his mind off the unpleasant things he saw as an airman during the war in Burma and was such a brilliant cook that she also helped put back some of the weight he lost out there. They had more in common than they thought, they both loved animals passionately, they liked a drink or two and took a keen interest in politics.”
Liz continued: “In the later years she came to live with us, which wasn’t entirely successful, as her strong will met mine and she usually won. She formed a relationship with Kingswood Park going on day care and then permanent; and she was as happy there as she would have been anywhere in her old age, which she very much disliked.
“Her sight failed and she couldn’t read and that distressed her. Her greatest comfort was Radio 4, which she listened to all day, every day.
“The staff at Kingswood were supportive, not only to my mother but also to me, through what was not in the last few years, the easiest of relationships for either of us.
“As my mother said repeatedly: “You can love someone but not always like them” and again she was right. I am sure there were many times when we annoyed each other but we did always love each other.”