Friday, October 28, 2011

Should Not Have Got On This Flight Tonight

Not being one to like a lot of fuss, Shirley had always said she didn't want Nikki to fly over in "emergency mode" whenever she shuffled off the mortal coil. Since she wasn't here to argue, we went anyway. The first flight we could book, Tuesday 11 October, arrived at Toronto Pearson mid-afternoon. A few seconds of Neil's reaction to Nikki's arrival would have been enough to convince anyone we'd done the right thing going over. We stayed 5 days, flying back Saturday night on the red-eye and arriving back in Manchester on Sunday morning.

The trip was a surreal mix of doing the things we would have done on a normal visit, only without Shirley, and in the midst of dealing with our grief as best we could, trying to help in any small way to organise lawyers, Neil's long-term care, Shirley's possessions, and comply with her last wishes. One of the most unusual of these was to donate her body to medical research. She'd been inspired to do this by a friend who passed before her, and although not having the closure of a formal funeral service proved a little hard for Neil to deal with, everyone was very glad that Shirley's final generous gesture was accepted by the University of Toronto medical research centre (not all are).

In my experience people often talk, or joke, about "donating their body to science" but very few have the courage or conviction to really do it.

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