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Monday, 19 September 2011

Good bye old friend ...

Sometimes our mortality is brought rather sharply into focus. I have just had that sort of day.

At 09.30 this morning a lady I was at school with, who sailed with me in the Sprog "Seanna" (Xhosa for "Runner") and who shared a large part of my life as a friend, and "sister" in many ways, died. Diana had suffered for a number of years with failing health. She suffered from glaucoma and she'd had a tumour removed from her brain around twelve years ago. The operation and the radiotherapy left her with an epileptic like condition, horrendous scarring and loss of her hair, but Di never gave up trying to beat it.

She was a very talented woman, musical (played the cello, mandolin, guitar and several other instruments), she was also creative, enjoyed singing and walking and certainly knew and understood the flora of our home country. In 2006 I was able to take her to Ireland and we were lucky enough to catch the show by Bru Boru. (I've probably not spelled that correctly.) She was entranced. We had taken seats near the stage so she could see them and the instruments, and once the players realised how interested she was and that there was a problem with her eyesight, some moved to sit next to her so she could see what they were doing. I've never seen performers do that before or since.

Her last four or five years have been very difficult, but she bore it all with her usual determination and humour and she never lost the faith we shared - we were confirmed together in 1962 at St Saviour's Anglican Church in East London. For the last few days she has been in a coma and died quietly and painlessly this morning. The cancer eating away at her brain finally won.

May she rest in peace and rise in glory with all the faithful.

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