14 August 2021
I am very sorry to tell you that Babette died peacefully at home on Sunday evening. She was in the bed that we’d set up in our main room (that we live, cook, eat and talk in) and she died in the late afternoon of last Sunday 8th August. Despite the ample warning that we’d had, I’d naively thought this would lessen the blow. It didn’t seem to. She was my closest friend, the person with whom I could discuss anything, however controversial, and without fear of judgement and there existed between us a deep appreciation of the other. I suppose this is what is very often referred to as love. Her death hit me and my three children like a sledgehammer, and that is roughly where we still are, as I write this on Thursday morning.
Has it all been misery? No, in fact early that evening, Shirley and Helen, two of Babette’s closest friends came round to “say goodbye” before the undertakers took her body away. We opened a bottle of wine and sat round enjoying memories of Babette, and there was a good deal of laughter mixed in there, along with a variety of other emotions. Josie remarked the next day that she hadn’t expected to be laughing and enjoying herself so shortly after her mum died. She’d expected everyone to just be sad and maudlin. But in fact for us there’s been a mixture of emotions, happy memories that bring laughter, tears of joy, and tears of sadness and of loss, and a few sledgehammer moments thrown in for good measure.
I’m aware that this will have been a shock to you, especially if you’ve met her in the past or felt you knew her through her writing the updates, or maybe you knew her quite well. So, if this describes you, then thank you for joining me, my family, my colleagues, friends and neighbours in mourning the death of a woman who enriched and often challenged the lives of those she met.
My warm regards to you.
P.S. If you feel moved to reply to my email, may I ask you to do so here, partly and selfishly so I don’t feel obliged to reply, and I want everyone to see how she has been seen in her life.
For instance, for me she has been such a force for questioning the status quo that, if you have example you want to share of how she touched your life, I’d be delighted to hear it and suspect others will as well.