Sunday, 24 July 2016

Charity Concert in Memory of Debbie

Lancaster Priory is hosting a concert by Yvonne Lyon in memory of Debbie. It will be in support of St John's Hospice, who cared for Debbie so well in the final weeks of her life.

The concert will be on Tuesday 13 September at 7-30pm, and will form part of the Priory's festival week. You can find out about purchasing tickets here.

The concert will feature songs from Yvonne's album 'Held'. Yvonne co-wrote songs on the album with people who had some experience of bereavement, and manages to capture the sadness, but also the hope and joy in the stories that were shared.

Here's a performance from earlier this year of one of the tracks from the album: 'Till We Meet Again'

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Debbie's song

Mike writes:

At Debbie's funeral, we heard her song "Patient Grace" sung by Jono. We thought a fitting final post on her blog would be to post the words to the song, and information as to how you can obtain a copy of the recording and also other ways to make donations to the causes Debs wanted to support.

Patient Grace. 

Patient Grace
Infinite gentleness, endlessly kind
Oil of gladness within me
Turning and shaping the dirt and the grit of my life
To a pearl of great price;

Healing Grace,
Calming the wind and the waves of my mind
Melting the sadness within me
Warming and thawing the snow and the ice in my soul
To a river of life

You are making a new heart within me
A heart that will beat with the beat of your own
A heart of flesh and not a heart of stone
You are making a new heart in me;
You are singing a new song within me
A song that will thrill through my flesh and my bone,
And now it will sing me till I’m wholly your own 
You are singing a new song in me.

And the making may take forever
And the shaping may never end;
But what does it matter now we are together,
And you are our friend?

Saving Grace
Calling me out from the depths of my tomb
Braving the stench of decay
Peeling the wraps and the bandages gently away
To show me my face;

Radiant Grace
Light in the darkness that once was my home
Light that no darkness can master
Light that will fill me and flood me and spill out in stars
Of wonder and praise

You are making….
Words and Music (c) Debbie Peatman 2005

To get a link to download an mp3 recording of the song, simply go to our Justgiving page, make a donation, however small, and you will receive an email containing the download link. Please note donations made this way cannot be Gift Aided, as they are treated as a purchase.

If you would like to make a more substantial donation in thanksgiving for Debbie and would like to use Gift Aid, you can use the following links:

To make a Gift Aid donation to St John's Hospice, click here.

To make a Gift Aid donation to the work of Messy Church, click here.

If you do make a direct donation, it would be great to know about it, so we can add it to the total donations we are aware of. We can include other donations separately on the Justgiving page to keep an online tally. Please notify Mike by email or Facebook Messenger.

Finally, here is the picture of Debbie we placed on the front of the order of service, which captured her laughter at Jono and Amy's wedding in March 2015. We hope that is a fitting way to sign off on this amazing blog.


Thursday, 21 April 2016

More Funeral Information

Mike writing:

Here is a bit more information for Debbie’s funeral 22/4/16 at 1pm If you’re not familiar with the location, the church is on Church Street, Morecambe. Parking is limited, and we need to ensure there is space for the funeral cars, so the primary school playground next door will be open for parking, there is a pay and display car park on Matthias Street by the Town Hall, and also on-street parking in nearby roads.

Church will be open from 12 Noon, with music playing chosen by Debbie. We expect a lot of people, so there will be a video relay across in the War Memorial Hall . Please don’t worry about bringing children - Debbie would want them to know they are welcome. If you are worried about how they might cope with being in the service, you can always take them to the hall instead and follow things from there.

Tea, coffee and cake will be served over in the hall after the service finishes for those who don’t wish to attend the committal. Please note the journey to Dalton woodland burial ground takes about 25 mins, so we will be a while before we return to join in.

You are welcome to come to Dalton, but please bear in mind that parking is limited. If you are driving there, please try and make sure you take a full car, as that will help the pressure on space. The weather is currently good, so we don’t anticipate it being muddy. Even if it stays dry, do make sure your shoes can cope with the ground being uneven. If it rains, we’ll need something waterproof on our feet.

Whether you can stay on after the service or not, please don't leave before signing one of our special memory books over in the Memorial Hall. We would really like to have a record of everyone who attended. Just writing your name is fine, but feel free to add anything else (or even draw something!) If you’re bringing children, please make sure you have a few crayons or felt tips for them to join in.

You can make a donation on the day, which will be split between St John’s Hospice and Messy Church. We will also be setting up something on Justgiving soon.

Thank you for all the cards and greetings. We can’t hope to respond to them all, but we have read them and they are appreciated.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Mike writing:

For further information about Debbie's funeral, please refer to my blog.

Thursday, 14 April 2016


Mike writing: 
Dear Friends,
This is to let you know that Debbie died at St John’s Hospice on Wed 13 April at around 5.50pm. She had not been conscious for a couple of days, and spent the day sleeping, calm and in no discomfort or pain. I was there with Jono, Ellie and Amy when the end came, and it was very peaceful. The Hospice was where Debbie wanted to be for this stage of her illness, and we are glad that was able to be the case. We are very grateful to all the staff who have made her stay so comfortable, and who have been so hospitable to us.
It’s obviously too early to have made any arrangements for the funeral, so we will post something when we are able to tell you more.
In the meantime, thank you for accompanying us on this journey.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

An update on Debbie

This is Mike writing:

Debbie is very happy and relieved to be staying in St John's Hospice. They are keeping her comfortable and out of any pain, and we are all appreciating the love and care they show in all that they do for Debbie. She is very tired, and communication is increasingly a challenge, so she is no longer able to engage directly with Facebook, blogs and email. However, I am checking from time to time and I'll do my best to pass on the greetings and good wishes I have found.

Friday, 12 February 2016

How not do say the wrong thing? Comfort in, dump out!

I've being wanting to write commending this post since it appeared on my friend Janet's wall weeks ago. At first it seems really obivous, but there's much more to it than meets the eye, I think. Reflect on it it, the more true and helpful it is. For those who want to be a real help by their conversations with us, but who also want to be honest themselves, it's the most helpful of these articles I've read, but also one of the simplest.

I hope I've whetted your appetite to take a look at the article in full - it's not very long and the web reference is:

Silk Ring Theory - on how not to say the wrong thing.

if not, here's my little summary:

When someone is seriously ill, people are often wanting to help, but also to manage their own emotions honestly about what is going on. This can sometimes though end up being a burden rather a help to people closest to the action and emotion, and can become an intolerable strain on them. Reflecting on the metaphor of the rings of a tree can be a real help, however, and should help us all to be appropriate with their emotions, and to be properly supportive of those who most need it.

You need to begin with a decent sized piece of paper, an on it, draw an arial view of a sliced down ring sample of tree trunk. Each slice should be big enough to write a few names in.
Begin by writing the name of the person who is seriously ill in the middle ring of the tree. That person, apparently, has a golden ticket to say anything they want to anybody. It's your perk for being in the middle of the tree. I'd have thought that small children in your family might trump even your rights, but she makes no mention of that; perhaps they have to be set up early with an explanation that mummy / daddy might be very grumpy sometimes, and a guide of where they can go if they're upset. That's probably a better solution, there's nothing like the relief of knowing that you don't have to cope with  any 'dumping in' from anyone. Even if it's part of your nature. You can tell anyone to lay off you as a dumping ground, and if they can't cope, know it's their problem and feel free to put a block on them talking up your time.

To be fair, the majority of people do get that, though not all by any means. The next ring or maybe two, depending on where the people in your own fit, is the really important ring, and this is where people often don't get it at all. I have often in the past not got it, and this is where you really matter.

On the next ring, put the people you consider closest to the person who is seriously ill. If in any doubt, go with spouse and children before anyone else if they have them. They may not look closest, but chances are that they are, even if what they show on the outside doesn't make them seem it.

So in my own case, for example, if anyone feels they are closer to the pain of all this than Mike, Jono and Ellie, you are seriously deluded. Sorry folks but there it is. None of them are people who cry in public easily, but losing a wife or a mum is simply worse than losing a friend. And likely to have a much bigger toll on them.

If the person's nearest and dearest are much less obvious to them, why not ask them? It may not be appropriate, but it may be. If they don't have a particularly significant other or others, then the potential for mistreating each other is probably significantly reduced. Just general common sense should help.

Now that the immediate rings are done, it all becomes a bit more arbitrary. Who do you think is closer to the emotion in this than you are? Wouldn't it be interesting to see the person's own tree and see where you figure in that? The best rule I can think of is play modestly. If in doubt, assume you are a ring further out that you think you may be. Crucially, if you feel you're going to have to let go of your emotions, see if you can identify someone whom you can talk to to who is at least as far out as you are, and preferably further out than you. And now take a look at what the map looks like.

This you can call your "care in, dump out' emergency wall checker. Some people have even found it helpful to stick on the fridge when going though a serious trial; like waiting for a terminally ill patient to die.  There is only one golden rule to follow, apparently, and it's this. Apart from sideways traffic, e.g. between siblings, all traffic has to be one way traffic. When looking towards the centre of the tree, you offer ONLY SUPPORT AND CARE. If you need to dump your own feelings, then you ONLY CHOOSE TO DO SO OUTWARDS.

In order to enable you to do so, spend a little time what constitutes a 'feeling dump'.  It may, after all, be a simple request for information. If made in the right way, this can even be supportive. If not, however it can become highly exploitative and draining.

Consider, for example, one of my closest 3 being asked, in passing, "How's Debbie Today ?" Looks like a thoughtful question? Actually, it's probably a request for information from someone who's tired out, got other things to think about, and would prefer not to have to engage with it. They may not have thought about their mum all day, and been trying to have some headspace. But your question suddenly makes them feel they should be up the minute with news. It may be that they'd love to talk about it. But you can only find out by investing a lot more time in them, and if you don't have it to give, then don't ask them at all.

So, for instance, the way of investing care in would be to say "It's so good to see you. Do you feel like a coffee and a chat sometime? No worries of not - or if you're busy now but would like to just say when. My treat." You spend that time on letting them take control. "It's just good to see you. Trivia or deep stuff?!"  make it clear you're there for them. IT'S NOT THEIR JOB TO KEEP YOU INFORMED. If you want information that badly, then root for it on the inside, not the in.

It is a little complicated of course if one of your dearest few is part of a caring profession where the expectation is that they would your dumping ground on other matters. it is of course fine to expect them to be here in that way, though the really caring thing would be to find other dumping grounds for everything.The caring thing though is not to come near them with anything that bears any relationship to a dumping ground about the person they're caring for.

What a big difference those few things would make. And actually are making, as people become more sensible. Thank you for helping us all to cope in the best way we can x