Sunday 5 February 2017

flower heart v1It is one year ago today that we laid Margaret to rest.

The church was packed and the service and hymns were exactly as she would have wanted full of joy for her life. The poem Anne sent over from South Africa really captured Margaret’s infectious personality that shone despite her illness. 

I am writing this just before I retire for the night as I have just taken the opportunity to re read Margaret’s letter to me and the boys. It conjured up so many things in ones mind as I read it that her voice is ringing in my ears “now listen what I have to say”.  Margaret I would not have changed a thing despite the path God had chosen for us a young couple and later as a family.

To have sat and wrote the letter in 2011 so articulately and with so much love for me and the boys it is very difficult to read it and ask our own questions of what IF. You said in the letter about me putting my life on hold I never once felt that – yes I worked hard at times but there is one certainty you never held me back despite everything that you had to deal with.

Yes you were right I did have a choice but I made the right choice all those years ago in 1968.

Last Sunday we sang your favourite hymn “Make me a channel of your peace” I will always think about you as we will no doubt sing it again the future.

Thank you Margaret for just being you.

Friday 5 February 2016

The day of the Funeral 

What does one do but wait we know where we are supposed to be and at what time – just wait it feels like it is going to be a long day.

I decide that the time for me to read Margaret’s letter is now just before we go up to the chapel of rest. I read it in the conservatory it is very moving especially as I am reading it now four years after she wrote it on the day of her funeral. She was a real words smith in getting things so right and very particular in how she wanted to convey her last thoughts with us all. 

Steven and family arrive we all go up to chapel of rest along with a few mementos to place in the coffin – drawings from the older grandchildren, a photo of Anne and Margaret along with her poem a picture of me and so on.

To say she looked so beautiful and calm would not be doing her justice her smile was there and I remarked to Anne later that I thought it was more a laugh – “any more stuff in the coffin and you are going drop me” – just the sort of thing Anne and Margaret’s sense of humour would have been like during their friendship.

A quick lunch before the hearse etc arrives.

I decided if we were able for me and the boys to carry Margaret into the church.

Cars arrive and we get ourselves sorted over the three cars and make our way to the church. There were many there already – speak with my family from down south – and prepare for any final things to do – words in my pocket decide to do it on my own and get mic fitted and where it will come in the service.

The church and flowers were perfect.

Final instructions of how we will lift coffin up and walk to the front – a moment that the four of us will cherish for ever to hoist Margaret on our shoulders and carry her forward with such grace befitting of someone so precious to us.

Hymns from Mission Praise
MP 50 Be Still in the presence of the Lord
MP 825 Faithful one
MP 445 Lord the light of your love
MP 456 Make me a channel of your peace

Sung at the crematorium
MP 921 Purify my heart
MP 880 Lord I come to you

Audio of service

It is pouring with rain as we leave the church for the crematorium. No time to linger which was a shame as there were many of my friends from my time at the BBC came to support me. (Decide to get in touch later)

Arrive at crematorium to be created by Graham to tell me that there is no organist /no music for two well known hymns. Quick thinking speak with the Sandyhills Choristers (Our Church choir members) to see how best to do this agree them to kick us of – on we go as planned. It turned out perfect well done to them.

So it finally came much feeling that is hard to put into words that my love for the past forty-eight years was in the hands of our Lord for safe keeping forever.


Display in Redstones Hotel

We left the service with Barbara Streisand singing “Memories”

I am not one for a post crematorium reception but you do manage to get through it as best you can.

Off to the Redstones for a reception with many of our friends and family. It was great to see so many you always feel it is a shame that we do not meet more often but busy we are all with our own families does not make this possible. Photographs exchanged showing Margaret in her early years added to the occasion.

Thanks to everyone. 

This was a day when memories were to the fore but Margaret lives on through our (always will call them our boys) boys.

I cannot thank Steven, Philip and Matthew for getting me through this last week, our moment in church as we lifted your MUM just felt so right.

Thursday 4 February 2016

One day to go to funeral

Everything is in place printer sorted and able to meet deadline.

I spend a bit of time going over my words again and again and agree on poem to read.

Philip and Jacquie are with me so plenty of banter to keep us amused.

Hear from family as they make arrangements and travel up from Midlands and Wales.

Anne sends over a poem from South Africa immediately forward to Graham for inclusion in the service.

Philip and his mum @ Matthews Wedding

Philip and his mum @ Matthews wedding

Agree what Margaret was to be wearing in the coffin – decision one of her favourite wedding outfits – taken to funeral directors.

Philip takes time out in the evening to hookup with friends, Maureen and Helen Glassford our elder come round for chat.

As usual I could not stop talking about Margaret especially how much she valued their friendship in the ten years that we have been at Sandyhills Church. Margaret really felt at home in the church and her faith was very important to her. We both felt so comfortable in the church and I know on occasions as we sat together I would reach over and turn her engagement ring round to catch the light it always got a smile from her. 

Hear family from down south has arrived safely.

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Achieved a lot yesterday.

Perhaps today may be a bit calmer and give us a chance to take stock of where we are at.

Phone call to Leuchie House re arrangements for Friday and also to family in England and Wales. The most difficult was updating  Anne in South Africa and asked her if she felt she was able to pen a few words which I could get Graham to include in his eulogy.

Two days to go to funeral I hit the keyboard to finalise with Matthew the order of service and my own words which I wanted to say during the service. There were so many thank yous but my main focus was Leuchie House staff, district nursing staff and Margaret’s carers Bernie and Michelle. I know that the last two years were very difficult for Margaret and I  since she had the supapubic catheter fitted – I know I lost it a few times but I wanted so much for Margaret’s quality of life to be as near perfect as was possible.

We have decided follmargaret 2011 duckbayowing discussion with funeral directors how we would like Margret to be dressed. After much thought decided on one of her wedding outfits with trimming etc.

Decide to go to Redstones Hotel for lunch and make final arrangements for Friday.

Twelve months on a little sketchy now but we were on track for Friday.

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Good day yesterday

Death certificate obtained

Everybody arrives for meeting with Funeral directors 10 am.  
The ladies set to and give the house a bit of a tidy up nothing much done in the last week whilst we are at the funeral directors.

Meet Jackie at Co-op funeral directors Shettleston, taken to small room and told all the details of what happens next. 

Calls made
Crematorium slot agreed for Friday 5 February @ 4 pm.
Schedule agreed with minister for service @ 3 pm.
Call Maureen to ask her to speak with Mrs Margaret Crawford re flowers in the church.
Agree with Jackie for viewing in Chapel of rest up till 2 pm on 5 February.
No of cars agreed and timetable to arrive at Carrick Drive
Call to Redstones Hotel confirm Friday after crematorium fro reception – agree to call alter re final arrangements and numbers.

Leave and make our way to Showers for Flowers to decide on floral display for coffin etc. Pick the following Heart from me, Mum and Gran in white from boys and grandchildren and finally a display for the reception afterwards.

Arrive home ready for lunch minister arriving at 3 pm for chat.

All sit for lunch I wander a bit trying to assemble what we have sorted so far – finally it takes its toll on me my legs give away again as they did in the hospital – everyone very concerned a sit down and I am fine. I think it was me thinking of what I am about to speak to everyone about just before we eat.

family2I thank everyone for what they have all done for me today but importantly I wanted to speak to them about Margaret and her wishes. I spoke also about how she would have wished to have passed away before me as for her to go in to residential care would have given her a poor outcome in her remaining life.  I gave a short prayer and thanked the Lord for her life and all that she meant to us.

Much laughter followed as we ate, stories were exchanged great feeling of family together.

Ministered arrive at 3 pm quite a gathering I am not sure he was prepared as he began with asking questions. I said at one point was there enough time to get all this in. It is surprising how much information and reflection from everybody there is in moments like this. Graham left around 5 pm.

I now had something import to give to the boys. Margaret was very good at knowing what she wanted do as her MS condition worsened she wanted to so much to speak personally with the boys and me. She was able to achieve this by writing a letter in 2011 which David her brother did on a visit to them in Armadale. I know when I saw him come out of the room where they were working how difficult it was for him to do this.  I handed them the sealed letters and asked them to open them at a time of their choosing when they felt it was right for them.

Finally completed a draft order of service and emailed to Matthew to finalise and get to printers ready for Friday.

Discussion re what we the boys were wearing – decision handkerchief in top pocket of suit in Margaret’s favourite colour. Agree music for crematorium – Stevie Wonder “I just called to say I loved you” instrumental version for entering and Barbara Streisand ” Memories” for leaving.

What day.


Monday 1 February 2016

The day after the day before how does one describe ones feeling after what we went through yesterday.

As the hours drifted by and the enormity sinks in that Margaret is no longer with us.
Now there is so much to do and arrange Margaret’s funeral.
We are against some deadlines especially as Matthew is scheduled to fly back out to Oman one week today with his family to carry on his job at the conference centre. 

Email Anne in South Africa to update her re Margaret’s death.


Collect death certificate from the hospital.
Arrange to register death at the council offices
Speak with chosen funeral home to carry out arrangements
Speak with minister re funeral
Arrange flowers
Arrange for details of funeral service leaflet to be printed
Book hotel for post funeral get together (Redstones Hotel – cannot do till after meeting with funeral directors)

A lot to do in a short space of time. Call made to council offices and meeting set for 4 pm today which just gave us time to get sorted – travel to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to collect certificate and then drive back to Glasgow for council appointment – going to be tight any delays and we miss deadline 1.

Make it just – back in Glasgow (forgot – to add my panic as I cannot find birth and marriage certificates – I turn draw and folders upside down but they are not to found hate this feeling of being inadequate not able to locate the documents – read up on website we could register without them. Still very unhappy).
Registration made so decide to have a bite in Jamie Oliver’s in George Square.

Further appointments made at Co-op Funeral Directors Tuesday 10 am all the boys will attend with me.
Minister visit arranged for 2/3 pm on Tuesday afternoon.
Arrange to have a big family lunch on Tuesday David, Janice, Sandra, Steven, Yvonne, Philip, Jacquie, Matthew and Fiona. All to attend visit with minister.

A full on day – who else to inform apart from family – nothing more to add – I am on whatever it is to get me through today. The week ahead does not bear thinking about.

Philip and Jaquie give me much needed comfort – we seem to be all on a rush in and out of the red bus all week is there any end so much to do.

Jan 31, 2017 - Blog, Margaret one year on    No Comments

Sunday 31 January 2016

Up sharp with a fairly muddled brain with so many thoughts running through it. I think I had come to my own decision that Margaret would not be coming home to Carrick Drive. There is always hope that she might pull through. I had my breakfast and immediately got out the Mission Praise Hymn book and worked on a selection of hymns to pass on to the minister that morning in church.

Attended church to some strange looks as many had been in formed of where Margaret was. I told them that I needed a time on my own in the church just for this hour at least to get myself back in gear and give me my time to reflect on what I felt was going to unfold over the next few hours/days with sadly no positive outcome being likely. I arranged with the session clerk Maureen Sharp and the minister Mr Graham Atkinson for 5 minutes to update them after the service. I handed over my choice of hymns with an order to be decided if required. I knew that the minister was intending to visit Margaret on Tuesday but I told him that I did not think she would last that long.

A quick lunch and back across to the hospital. The Minister arrived just behind us and read the 23rd Psalm and spoke some lovely words in prayer for Margaret and our family he spent a few moments talking to us.

There was only one thing on my mind now was to hope that Matthew was still on schedule to get across from Schipol and Glasgow to see his mum. I spoke privately with the doctors to see if at all possible there was anyway we could keep her going till Matthew arrived I felt she was that close now mid afternoon.

As luck would have it Philip got in touch with Matthew in his hotel and after a chat Matthew texted a message across to Philip for him to read to his Mum. We gave him the space for him to do that a very difficult moment for Philip but I am so pleased that they both had thought it through.

Steven arrived with Yvonne and Sandra Margaret’s sister late in the afternoon. Steven told me that he did not go home but left when Janice and David arrived. He said that Margaret had asked for me but he told her that I had gone home to rest and would be back soon.

The time is now past 4 pm and we have just heard that Matthew is on route with Fiona from Glasgow so afar so good he might make it soon.

We were all round the bedside trying to not get in the nurses way with Philip holding his Mum’s hand when he looked to me and just says “She has gone” time is around 4.30 pm. 

We had to wait for the usual confirmation from the doctors whilst we were outside Philip left to meet up with Matthew down stairs.

Matthew came in a few minutes later we knew it would be touch and go but it was not to be – it was very difficult to console him and Fiona, I allowed them to go in and sit with Margaret before the staff had to carryout some further checks. When Matthew came out we had re really nice family huddle and a few words expressed at Margaret’s passing from this world. 

On returning to the room I immediately collapsed my legs would not hold me up any more – a short rest and few extra hands on me a glass of water and I was OK.

There was some time taken now in a relatives room for us to discuss a few things of where we were going from here. Leaflets obtained re bereavement etc and procedures to be followed.

We all did leave eventually for home a very dramatic day.

Weeks thoughts

The M8 travelling through to Edinburgh became a lonely place with very little said on our journeys. The week unfolded in such dramatic ways – firstly with the call and Margaret rallying round and then slipping back further with some discomfort.

It was very reassuring that Margaret and I had discussed at length over the many years what IF happens so I was ready to answer those questions to carry out Margaret’s wishes.

However when that time comes are you as prepared as you think you are when those question arise – I made so many promises to Margaret over our time together and this was one that I was determined to not let her down. Since her MS diagnosis in 1982 and her subsequent worsening following two previous hospitalisations her quality of life was her main concern.

As I went to bed that night it became even more obvious that a void had opened up for me- I had spent the last week hoping that yes maybe but then realising that it was not going to happen this time – space beside me that is so huge after all those years together through thick and thin – birth of three sons watching them grow up and our grandchildren. 

All I can say in closing this day you did it Margaret and thanks for allowing me to share it with you.



Jan 31, 2017 - Blog, Margaret one year on    No Comments

One year on


 “She’s gone” were the words that Philip spoke to me whilst he was holding his mother’s hand. The time was approximately 4.30 pm Sunday afternoon 31 January 2016. This time Margaret finally lost her battle to beat her latest war with MS associated problems. Since her diagnosis in 1982 she never lost the magic of her smile despite everything that her MS condition threw at her. We looked at ourselves as the ‘A’ team we were on the winning side. We met forty eight years ago on the 28 December 1968 and after a whirlwind four days in Aviemore we were to marry on 16 September 1970 have a wonderful life together and bring up three fabulous sons.

I picked up a card the other day which so summed up my feelings for Margaret.

Inside at the top I wrote.
It is one year on that you passed on to our Lord.
There is not a day goes by without me thinking about you.
(in the middle are these words) 
“And wanting you to know”

I wrote here some personal things which mean’t so much to us during our life together.

Love you always.


Jan 30, 2017 - Blog, Margaret one year on    No Comments

Saturday 30 January 2016

After yesterday at the hospital I had a very restless night. I do not know why or will never be able to explain but I went through and got Philip and Jacquie up at 4am as I had decided to get Matthew home from Oman if it was possible. You can call it whatever you like but my feelings were not in a good place especially after yesterday in the hospital. The time difference is three hours between UK and Oman thankfully Matthew had his phone in his bedroom and we were able to make contact over Skype.

I was very concerned about Margaret and I think if it was at all possible for him to travel home as soon as possible. He was scheduled to travel in a couple of days so I left it with him to arrange what he could. Received a call back to say he had sorted flights and would arrive in Glasgow late Sunday afternoon via Schipol airport. 

We travelled through to Edinburgh but decided to make a call over to Leuchie House to collect Margaret’s belongings it also gave us a chance to speak with the ladies to update them on Margaret’s condition. Lunch was taken in the dining room before we set off for hospital.

What greeted us was again not what we had expected Margaret was clearly very unwell difficulty breathing and her lips were very dry etc. I had a further chat with the doctors which was not very encouraging and I became quite concerned as to whether Margaret was going to get over this particular episode.

I made my own personal decision that I would ask whoever was visiting during the day/evening if they wished to sit for a while privately with Margaret. I had by late afternoon reconciled myself that this was going to one battle that Margaret would not be able to recover from and have a similar quality of life that she was comfortable with.

My time with Margaret was very special I spoke to her about all the things we got up to but what you do not know is what response you are going to get. I like to believe that there was reaction especially when I held her hand and played with her ring finger. I clearly remember saying to her that I was happy for her to go to be with the Lord as I could clearly feel that Margaret was in great difficulty and showing some signs of discomfort with her medication and clearing her throat.

Philip and Jacquie, David and Janice followed by Steven had their moment during the afternoon.

The staff were excellent coming in regularly to dab her lips as they were quite dry.

I was comforted to hear that Matthew was on his way from Oman to Schipol and taking a hotel bed on arrival.

We left around end of visiting time and I asked Steven not to stay too long because I believe it was about to snow and we had Harthill on the motorway to get over.

It did snow not a pleasant journey back to Carrick drive.

UK information update done.




Jan 29, 2017 - Blog, Margaret one year on    No Comments

Friday 29 January 2016

Philip and Jacquie arrive early morning through the wind and rain so grateful to see them.

Standard call to hospital re overnight report and told that another move was made to another ward which took a bit of time to get through to.
Report was a little limited on information so we decided to travel through to hook up to the visiting times.

What we found was surprising as Margaret did not look at all well, lacked colour and had difficulty breathing etc. managed after a while to get a moment to speak with the doctors and the allocated nurse as to what they thought was happening to Margaret. I was not used to seeing her battle on as she is always so positive despite her MS. The ward was not the quietest one with so many distractions so we made representations to see if we could get her into a room on her own so she could rest. 

Today was a sad day as we could only sit with Margaret and stimulate her hand especially as Philip and Jacquie had only just made it up from Northampton. I think Janice, David and Steven were surprised also especially after the previous two days.

Margaret is now on full dips for food as far as I can tell she had not eaten since the meal last evening but not 100% sure. 

I am now quite concerned about her condition but I had to place her in the doctors hands.

UK report update to family done.


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