Had one of those funny mornings when I couldn't settle to anything. I had lots of things lined up to do as it's The Maltings Market on Saturday and I am wanting to have quite a few new things on my stall, but just couldn't get started. Maybe it's the cold, which seems to have seeped into every nook and cranny of the house, even my workroom, which is generally warm and toasty. Maybe it is the fact that my back has been grumbling away at me. Or maybe it was having too many ideas and not knowing where to start.
Then my Mum phoned to tell me that a very dear family friend had died late last night and it was almost as if I'd already known.
Sheila was a very special lady. She'd not had the easiest of lives, having been struck down with polio as a small child, which resulted in her being in hospital for most of her childhood, separated from her family. She had to wear heavy callipers and really struggled with mobility, yet she worked most of her adult life, even when her thoughtless employers moved her office up a flight of stairs! When she retired she adventurously went off travelling round Europe - she didn't let her disabilities stop her from grabbing life.
My family got to know Sheila about twenty years ago when my Mum began taking communion to her as she was not easily able to get to church. She quickly became a regular visitor at my parents' home, especially in the summer for barbecues as she could get into their lovely garden more easily than the house, which necessitated the use of portable ramps for her wheelchair. Most Christmases she was with us too. She came up with a lovely idea in that each Christmas she would give each of us a cheque to send to our favourite charity. You never heard her grumble about her own difficulties - she thought of others instead.
It was Sheila who gave me the fantastic sewing machine cabinet I have in the attic room when she found she couldn't get her super-duper electric wheelchair under it. And it was Sheila who was my rescuing angel last year when my sewing machine packed up. Unable to use her lovely Husqvarna machine any more, she generously gave it (and all her other sewing paraphernalia) to me, something I have been grateful for ever since.
Sheila had been increasingly unwell since before Christmas. I last saw her on Christmas Day when I went with my Mum, sister and daughter, to take her a Christmas dinner and some small presents. Even though her illness was making everything that was already a struggle for her even harder, she was still in remarkably good spirits.
She told my Mum the day before yesterday that she was 'ready to go' so I have to be glad for her, released from her suffering. But I will miss her, and will think of her often, especially when sewing.
Rest in peace, Sheila.