Sunday, 24 June 2012

Jane Furnival 1957 - 2012

Last month my mother died. We buried her ashes tonight, a quiet little unmarked patch of ground with what might one day be a nice rose on top. It started raining not long afterwards. I'm hopeful.

This was not unexpected. She had been diagnosed with cancer about three years ago. Despite her best efforts to the contrary, it had been progressively getting worse. Although I've been trying to keep it separate from the various silly things I make, it was something that had been building in my mind like steam in a kettle. I imagined that her death would an apocalyptic event: me and everyone in my immediate family would just stop in our tracks for at least a year, rocking backwards and forwards as the cobwebs grow around us.

In fact I'm busier than ever, with more actual paid directing jobs all on the immediate horizon. This is what I think she would have wanted. My mother was the hardest worker I know. In the last few months it was her tactic for saying alive - she'd give herself so many projects and plans and things to do that she couldn't possibly stop. She's written books and recorded audiobooks from her bed when she couldn't sleep any more. A writer and journalist, throughout her life if something bad happened to her, she'd turn it into a newspaper article or fit it into a book. She never sat down and let problems overwhelm her, she'd just keep working through it, and do that work on her own terms.

Grief is one of the more bizarre of human emotions, it comes and goes when you don't expect it. Her actual passing didn't cause the complete mental breakdown I was expecting, perhaps because it's been on the horizon for so long. Since then it's been more of a gradual realisation: in a concrete way you will never hear this person say this thing again, you will never go here with this person again, this person will never see this with you, this will never happen again. It seems fairly obvious to say that this person will never reappear happy and waving as if back from a long holiday, but brains are pretty stupid sometimes.

So that's why I think I'm writing this: to explain that I'm okay, but if I get a bit more mopey than usual this might be why. I sincerely hope I don't, there's far too many fun things to do.


Further media:

Online obituaries:

Daily Mail:

UK Press Gazette:

Sutton Guardian:

The last article she ever wrote:

Her last TV appearance on ITV's This Morning: