Not Saussure

May 4, 2007

An interim announcement

Filed under: Uncategorized — notsaussure @ 2:42 am

My heatfealt thanks to all who have written to me with their very generous messages of sympathy for the death of my mother last week. I am replying to everyone individually who had the nerve to ignore my intimation they should not bother, but thank you all. I really do appreciate it.

I now have the task of delivering a funeral oration. As my mother would have said,

‘Im buggered!’

Here is what an old friend of mine, to whom I am so pleased I introduced my mother some 15 years ago, despite the fact they found each other impossible at times but still loved each other, had to say:

I have been thinking a lot about Dorothy – and one thing really struck me that underpins all she was and did. She had a talent, that almost amounted I think to genius, for friendship. But not a mawkish kind of friendship where she wanted to be liked: her talent for friendship was that she genuinely liked and was interested in YOU, the target of her friendship.She also had the knack of making you interested in her other friends and their interests.Though I never met quite a number of her other friends, I felt that I knew them, because she talked of them and made them real. And she also had the knack of being interested in you whatever age or type of person you were.

Her old school pupils loved her as their friend; my niece Rosie was just about seven when they first met and became firm friends and Rosie loved her because she cared and was interested. More, she was proud of her and let Rosie know that as she eveloped and fought to overcome her dyslexia. The stimulus to write and do things was Dorothy, and she was in the middle of writing to her again last Friday [the day my mother died]. The taxi drivers thought she was wonderful. She kept her old friends and made friends to the last – the nurses, her new doctor, Theresa [her devoted helper over the last several months, who found her body].

As you said, her Christmas card list was enormous [250, accompanied with a lengthy personal letter each, despite her blindness in her later years] and if she had lived, it would (despite the deaths of friends ) have continued to be enormous as new names were added. Over the last 15 years she has been one of my greatest friends and I can truly testify to what her friendship was and was worth. She was unfailingly interested in what was happening to me and ready to comment (and point out problems and failings); she remembered things. My mother has been so touched that every year since my father died, Dorothy sent her a card on the anniversary of his death. Her interest was so genuine and vital and alive, like her. She laughed, cursed and wept with you. And she cared, very much. And that is rare – to have such a capacity and love of humanity, not just in the round but as the individual. And it was good, too, that she was far from perfect (and knew it) and so you didnt feel you were dealing with some kind of saint!! She knew how to be bad…while remaining at core a very good woman.

What more can I say? Well, quite a lot. She abhorred bulliying, for example,and cowardice, though she would always forgive these faults, having a sometimes un-nerving understanding of human nature. She would,had I asked her, and I would  have done — though she would perhaps not initially have thanked me for so doing, but she would have welcomed him anyway — welcomed John Hirst into her home, and given him the respect, care and understanding she afforded to everyone and which she both expected of and inspired in others.

She was also delighted to hear the impending news of Rachel and J’s wedding, She would have loved to have met Rachel,whose courage, indefatigably and strength she greatly admired. People invoke ‘the blitz spirit’ too lightly, to my mind, as they do the struggle against fascism, a term she understood in a way some modern apologists for the same thing don’t. Besides, ‘Pole-dancing? I could do that when I was younger, and probably better — just watch!’.

My mother endured the bombings of both Doncaster and London and would have recognised in Rachel a kindred spirit, not only in her resilience but in whom a woman knew who were the real enemy. Not the immediate criminals, whom we can, and will, readily defeat, but those who would, for the best possible reasons, steal everyone’s freedoms.

Meanwhile, I see from Bel, that an imposition not to be born is now proposed. My mother would not, I think, have liked that. Nor do I.

Back, I hope, in a couple of days’ time.



  1. Sorry to read about your loss. But, glad that you have been able to make an appearance.

    Thanks for the kind words of support.

    I didn’t email as I respected your wishes and did not wish to intrude in your personal grief.

    Best wishes

    Comment by jailhouselawyer — May 4, 2007 @ 10:24 am

  2. Forget that… I plan on using your personal grief as an introductory item in my next article.

    Good luck with the oration.

    Comment by Tim Ireland — May 4, 2007 @ 1:30 pm

  3. She sounds a very special lady and inspirational mother, I would loved to have known her.

    Comment by Ellee — May 4, 2007 @ 2:11 pm

  4. My condolences, Not Saussure.

    And that’s some heavy ammunition you’ve fired off there. Tremendous.

    Comment by Larry Teabag — May 4, 2007 @ 5:52 pm

  5. I usually can’t find words in this situation so let’s jsut say I came by, noted and nodded and am so glad you posted this.

    Comment by jameshigham — May 4, 2007 @ 7:48 pm

  6. My Condolences, too.

    Glad you continue to send a heads-up.

    Comment by tyger — May 4, 2007 @ 9:17 pm

  7. Come back whenever you’re ready, NS, but I’d prefer sooner rather than later – I’ve been bored off my arse reading these useless tossers.

    Present company excepted, of course.

    Comment by Flying Rodent — May 4, 2007 @ 11:51 pm

  8. My condolences too mate,… look forward to you bouncing back.

    Comment by Sunny — May 5, 2007 @ 5:56 pm

  9. Same goes from me.

    Comment by Justin — May 7, 2007 @ 10:45 am

  10. Dearest Not Saussure

    I am so sorry to hear of your mother’s death. I wish you great peace as you lay her to rest.



    Comment by Noosa Lee — May 7, 2007 @ 6:10 pm

  11. My condolences, and sympathies. I am so very sorry to hear of her passing and your family’s loss. She sounds like a wonderful lady, whom I should have loved to have met.

    Comment by Rachel North — May 24, 2007 @ 11:17 am

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