April 2, 2020 Monumental Muse

When I first met Sabine Horner, Proprietor of Asana Nutrition, last year at a networking meeting, her life had taken a totally different direction to that which she had planned, and it was all because of a personal tragedy. Sabine’s husband, Kevin, had passed away from acute myeloid leukaemia. During the last 18 months of his life, as his body fought the effects of the toxic chemotherapy drugs, Sabine studied Nutrition Science and Practise at the NCA in York to learn what nutrients would help him to feel better quicker. As part of this course, Sabine learnt about the effects…

March 30, 2020 Monumental Muse 2Comment

The following is a poem, written by The Compassionate Friends (TCF) founder Joe Lawley: The Gift   I have a gift.  I did not want this gift, it meant suffering and pain. The pain came because of love. A love which had manifested itself in a child. The child brought its love to me and asked for my love.  Sometimes I did not understand this.  Sometimes I did not appreciate it.  Sometimes I was too busy to listen quietly to this love.  But the love persisted; it was always there.    One day the child died.  But the love remained. …

March 27, 2020 Monumental Muse

When you suffer the loss of a loved one the array of things you need to do can be totally overwhelming, from the moment they take their last breath and you find yourself thrust into collecting their death certificate and having to register their death to the minute they are buried or cremated and you have to acknowledge this is a final “goodbye”. The only remaining thing for you to do is to decide how to mark their final resting place – what kind of a memorial will you put in place for them – and who can you trust…

March 26, 2020 Monumental Muse

42 – according to Douglas Adams “Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” is the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”, a sentiment Dave Briscoe would agree with – so much so his wife, Daphne, had it engraved on his headstone when he died. The headstone is a beautiful slate monolith and it’s simplicity and what it didn’t say had me intrigued. Complete with it’s a simple inscription, 42 and an intricately carved bunch of grapes, together with a little box seated directly in front of the monolith I knew this headstone had a story to tell….

March 22, 2020 Monumental Muse 6Comment

Happiness and Singing Happiness was at the top of the agenda whenever Ernest “Ernie” Pace was around.  He was known for two things: making those around him laugh and singing.  Not just any old song but one song in particular: Dean Martin’s version of “Volare”. Originally written all in Italian it was subsequently performed by the Gypsy Kings in their native Spanish for all but the chorus which was left in Italian. With the Dean Martin version all but the chorus – which again was left in Italian – was performed in English. It was this version that became synonymous with Ernie. It…

March 13, 2020 Monumental Muse

One of only two privately owned Victorian cemeteries in the UK today, York Cemetery dates back to 1837.  Far from being a sad place where people come to mourn the dead, it is an oasis of peaceful serenity and quite unique beauty.  Here the old sits alongside the new and wild plants and shrubs rub shoulders with beautifully manicured lawns and flower beds. In parts, nature is almost reclaiming its own as ivy creeps up and over beautifully carved and weathered gravestones.  It is a mosaic of different areas within which one will find a section where angels watch over…

March 9, 2020 Monumental Muse

If ever a picture painted a thousand words then it must be one of the following, taken in York Cemetery this week.   What the photos reflect is the sheer beauty of a carpet of purple which has been created by the planting of 18,000 crocus corms at the cemetery.  The corms were planted as part of the “Purple4Polio” initiative created by Rotary International.   In October 2018/2019 pupils from 3 local schools: St. Georges Primary, St. Lawrence’s Primary and Fishergate Primary commenced the planting and on November task days planting was open to everyone and they were joined by 50…

March 4, 2020 Monumental Muse

I’ve always thought that a nice way to go when my time comes is in my sleep.  But what of these unfortunate and mostly untimely deaths?  How did they come to take their last breath? *In 620 BC, an Athenian lawmaker by the name of Draco was smothered to death by gifts of hats and cloaks showered upon him by an appreciative audience in a theatre in Aegina! In 455 BC another Athenian, this time a tragedian by the name of Aeschylus met an untimely death when an eagle dropped a tortoise on his bald head, mistaking it for a…

March 3, 2020 Monumental Muse

I never knew my paternal grandfather, he sadly passed away 8 years before I was born.  My grandmother “gran” however was a huge influence in my life, and to a large degree, she still is. It has been alluded, more than once, that the TV character Hyacinth Bucket from “Keeping Up Appearances” was modelled on her.  I have several poignant and amusing memories of her: I can still see her walking to our local methodist chapel every Sunday, hat on, dressed in her “Sunday best”, hymn book and the bible in hand.  She had her own, black, leather-bound hymn book with…

February 29, 2020 Monumental Muse

In her book, “The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying: a Life Transformed By The Dearly Departing”  author Bronnie Ware shares an insight into the top five regrets of the dying, based on her experience of several years working in palliative care, looking after people in the last 12 weeks of their lives. It makes for very interesting reading as she discovered there were five “regrets” that were expressed many more times than others.  There was no mention of “I wish I’d lost more weight” “I wish I’d had more money”  “I wish I’d travelled more” or “I wish I’d…