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I know it will sound silly – what does it matter once someone is dead?– but in the immediate aftermath of the death of someone you have been nursing, it sounds barbaric. Mum and I were beside her, and in those last few days she’d been surrounded by friends and family, with life going on all around her. What we didn’t realise was that a single piece of bureaucracy would transform the time in the immediate aftermath of her death from one of private adjustment into a distressing wrangle for which neither of us had the emotional budget. She had woken thirsty, and I’d just squeezed a syringeful of water into her mouth because she didn’t have the energy to sit up, though mentally she was clearly still absolutely “with it”, as she would have said. It was as peaceful and as kind a death as I think it might be possible to have. The curtains were open because she liked to see out. All of our energy had been thrown into life: how to minimise pain, how to make her comfortable.These chronicled several life-threatening conditions, including pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lung tissue, which is a progressive disease), COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, another chronic lung condition), and heart problems.At first it wasn’t clear whether her health would continue its rapid deterioration or plateau, so there was a good deal of trying to get systems in place to enable her to continue living by herself, in her own home in Addingham, West Yorkshire, as independently as possible.

“Now I’m going to sue every fool in the federal government for ignorance, stupidity, and just plain general incompetence.Instead, he explained that despite the thick file of medical notes, her age, and the fact that she had been seen several times a day by NHS professionals, he was required to refer the death to the coroner, who would then determine the cause of death. The undertaker, we learnt, is only temporary; you can later switch if you like – and we did, a couple of days later – to one of your choice, who will also look after the body in their own chapel of rest.As for the coroner, what really bothered us was the prospect of a post mortem.Swaddle a special baby with this special christening blanket.Mimi Seyferth’s “Jabez Ridgwell’s Christening Blanket” uses the granny-square motif that Boer War veteran Jabez Ridgwell used on the christening blanket he made during rehabilitation, following the injuries he received in the war. I can relate to the healing powers of crochet while on the mend.

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