On Sunday evening, I talked on the phone to my parents as I have done for years (before that, as a child, as a family, we would phone my father’s parents every Sunday evening).

This Sunday, my mother answered the phone as usual, my father being a bit deaf, she usually answers first. Unusually, she sounded short of breath and had a bit of a cough, apparently she had had it for a couple of days. My thought was that this might be Covid-19 and suggested that they both take a test, later the same evening we got a message to say that they were both negative. The phone call was full of the usual stuff, about the family and what our holiday plans were, and when we would visit them later in the year.

Yesterday evening, we got a message saying that she had been to the doctor, who had given a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis and was referring her to a specialist. Having looked it up, I woke up this morning thinking that my mother might only have months or at most a few more years to live.

Then there was a message from my father to say that she had died peacefully at just before eight o’clock this morning. I sit here writing this, not knowing what else to do. In the window box just outside, the first couple of green shoots of some late sown nasturtiums have also appeared this morning. It will give me something to remember her by.

Nasturtium seedling