My mother-in-law, Patricia Bernadette St. Claire-Johnson, has died suddenly at the age of 67. She had been in frail health for some considerable time. In September 1998 she spent several weeks in intensive care at Leicester Royal Infirmary. We made more than one hurried trip down from Manchester not really expecting her to still be there. But she survived and went on to give the impression that she would go on for many years.
The subsequent choices Pat made often frustrated Katharine and me, but they were her choices to make. She’s to be admired for having lived her life how she wanted to live it; independently, privately and perhaps a little eccentrically.
In the end distance was unkind. It was not unusual for Pat to miss a phone call and so it was several days before we called the police and asked them to enter the house. Leicestershire Police have had a particularly bad press of late, but we could not possibly find fault with their conduct. They have been sympathetic and kind, always available and acted as a dependable first point of contact throughout.
Pat was not an easy woman to love, but she was loved and clearly loved her daughter and late husband above all. I suspect death always brings some regrets and in recent months Katharine had felt herself growing closer to her mother. Perhaps the tragedy is that relationships take too long to build and mend… we always need just a little more time.