Miranda receives a call from her friend Mary’s mother…

Whether you’re reading an article from Annabel, Grace or one of our marvellous guest contributors, we aim to give older women the confidence to celebrate life and, in this particular article, to be more open about one of the last taboos – dying. Thanks to Miranda for this article which touches on this touchy subject.

My friend Mary’s mother rang me to tell me about the death of a dear friend. She had the newspaper in front of her and read out to me when and where the service would be held. After all this useful information, she asked me if I knew of a Lady Snoggrass-Something, who had lived in our local town and had sadly died.

No, I didn’t, I replied, and rather hoped that would be the end of that. However, Mary’s mother doesn’t really believe in leaving a conversation that hasn’t had a successful conclusion. She probably felt that I wasn’t giving my full attention to remembering who this lady was. In my defence, it’s quite hard to conjure up a woman with just the Christian name and a largish town as a guide, and I was a little bored with this line of enquiry.

She decided to prompt my memory with the fact that this person was the sister of Lord Gobbledegook who lived in a vast house in Cornwall. “No, still nothing. Sorry about that,” was my response.

“Well, what about Lady Blahdiblah? She has just died too and I think her husband was in the same regiment as your father.” I said that this would make the dead lady in her eighties which wasn’t my specialist subject and actually more her field of expertise.

I could sense that there would be more questions to come and we had only just touched the tip of the iceberg of Who’s Who in Dead People. “Can I ask you something? Are you reading the list of obituaries in today’s Times newspaper to me?”

“Yes,” she said.

“I thought you might have been but can you not, please!”

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Mary’s mother chuckled and we both knew that she would and could do exactly as she wished. No doubt she would ring me up later in the day having remembered Lady Snoggrass-Something’s full name, rank and number. She would tell me what she had recalled or read in Burke’s peerage and I would say “Thank you but I couldn’t care less.”

Mary’s mother will rest assured that she had done her part trying to keep the likes of Mary and me in the loop. Mary and I will forget immediately, of course!

What happens if you get scared half to death twice? STEPHEN WRIGHT

I hope to arrive to my death, late, in love and a little drunk ATTICUS

My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people’s OSCAR WILDE

Don’t think of it as dying, said Death. Just think of it as leaving early to avoid the rush TERRY PRATCHETT

… and, one from Miranda’s sister:

Death walks beside us every moment of our lives so why should the last moment be so terrible when most of the others were so pleasant?

Did you see Annabel’s article on how we should discuss death? And there’s another amusing story from Miranda entitled Loving Each Other To Death that you might well enjoy reading here.