Miss P 2“On Friday, July 12th my beloved Ms Pitcher passed away. Ms Pitcher came into my life 3 years ago although it seemed like so much longer.  An 89 year old lady going on 40.  Although her body was frail and failing- her indomitable spirit and sharp intellect was there to the end.

Ms Pitcher was a joy and an inspiration in my life. She had a few small pleasures in life – her cigarettes, her books, lots of coffee and an occasional gin and tonic. She had taught young women all her life and had a long and happy retirement. This old lady was accepting of her lot in life and frequently would say – “my love, you really don’t want to get old- it’s such a bore” – my stock response was “ so Miss Pitcher ­– do I have a choice?” Our verbal sparring was always fun and we traded stories and anecdotes on everything from the benefits of really sexy lingerie to the ills of the world. Miss Pitcher had an opinion on everything – and then some! She never lost the ability to make me feel like a long lost friend when I would go and have a chat to her – she was always a lady and was terribly polite – unless you annoyed her – she had an interesting vocabulary which she used to full advantage…. She loved a good argument and I’m not sure that I ever won – I didn’t mind…..

Ms P was an author of 4 children’s books and when I asked to read them she replied she had no need to keep copies – she knew the stories……  She was kind and gentle when I was angry and uptight. She was stroppy and difficult when I was trying to please her. She never gave up on life or her insistence that she be treated as a person of substance and with respect.   “Can’t they see I’m still here”, she would say……and God forbid – don’t speak down to her.  “I’m not an idiot – my body doesn’t work but my brain is fine…….”

She jealously guarded her privacy and was a loner. To the end, Ms P’s life was on her terms.

No act of kindness went unnoticed. Ever the lady, she would thank whoever helped her profusely.   Of course 5 minutes later she could unleash a tirade of abuse if you displeased her! The last year was not kind to Ms Pitcher as she battled with a failing body. Her acceptance of this was touching and she seldom complained – rather stating that it really was time to go. Miss Pitcher has gone but she will always have a special place in my heart. Rest in peace, Miss Pitcher. You are sorely missed.”

By Sue Musgrave
Director: Select Services, and friend of Miss Pitcher

Miss Pitcher expressed strong feelings to Sue Musgrave about her transition to care from the community, and Sue encouraged her to write them up, in order to share them. The result was “Love on the Compost Patch” which has been read at many training sessions around the country, and “moved” people incredibly. It has given those who work in care homes an invaluable inside perspective. Thank you, Miss Pitcher for lessons learned. 

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