November Is A Month Of Personal Changes, Some Happy And Some Sad

At the start of the month, I had the strong conviction on one of the mornings, that November was going to be the start of a new personal season.

That evening, I had the shock news that my mother-in-law, Rosemary, had died. She had been diagnosed with cancer a couple of months previously.

We knew that it was terminal but her death wasn’t expected so suddenly. Due to the COVID-19 situation, we hadn’t been able to see her either, since the time of diagnosis.

Even when my wife, Debby, took things to her (she had just been transferred from hospital to a home) she had to hand them over at the door.

My wife had been looking after her mom for ten years since her dad died, and we had said many times that when the commitment was no more, we would move to our ‘forever home’.

Having taken out a mortgage at the age of eighteen, we’ve been free of that burden for a number of years now.

Therefore, that season of change is very imminent. That’s happy change.

Back to Rosemary though, and we’re busy at the moment dealing with all the practical things, which, as anyone who has been in that position will tell you, is quite involved.

We’re also having to work through her house and sort out personal belongings. That can be both sad and happy at the same time.

The former because you are dealing with bereavement but the latter in the sense that you are exposed to positive memories.

Coming across old photograph albums was time for reflection. There were some family shots that went deep into the twentieth century.

The lead image is of Rosemary when she was younger. Born in 1937, that was from some years ago.

I have no idea where it was taken, or the background behind it, and to everyone else it’s just an old photograph of a girl on a beach somewhere.

To me though, it’s special. It means a lot. It’s a connection with the past.

It’s also a reminder that every one of us one day will pass on. It will literally be a case of here today, gone tomorrow.

My last personal contact with Rosemary was in hospital, when we had just been told she was dying.

As well as her son-in-law, I was also her pastor. We talked and prayed.

Rosemary was prepared for what was to come in her life.

One day we will all meet our maker. We’re never too young – or too old – to make our peace with God.


  1. Some nice words Stewart. I listened to your video a few days back when you said she had sadly died. Hope you and the family are doing ok. A lot of your thoughts/messages this last month have been a blessing.

    1. Thanks for those kind words, Chris, very much appreciated.
      We’re doing well, thanks. I was talking to a lady this morning who was telling me about her husband dying some years ago.
      She said you either sink or swim don’t you.
      I said yes you do.
      We’re swimming.

  2. Sorry to hear of your loss, sad at anytime but Covid-19 adds an even harsher element.

    Would you prefer not to know where the photo was taken – the clocktower and the houses far right mean I think I have an inkling (but I may very well be wrong anyway). Either way it is a emotive image (Note to self to scan in Mum’s old photos).


    1. Thanks, Clive.
      No, I’d love to know. I would imagine it’s somewhere in Wales because that’s where they used to go on holiday.
      Aberystwyth, Fairbourne and Rhyl were places they went regularly. Wales is where people from this area still go a lot even today but especially then when things were more local.

      1. Stewart

        Oh I’m probably wrong then. Based on the clock tower I initially thought Weymouth and looking at Google images I thought I could match the terraced houses on the right of the picture with a block to the east of the clock tower.

        I could well be wrong though, but have a look on Google images and see what you think.


        1. That’s interesting, in fact I was going to add that they were just my own thoughts based on what we knew.
          Ultimately, wherever it is, it would just be great to know,
          Thanks for the pointer, I’ll check that later.

          1. Stewart

            I’ll throw in a couple of circumstantial facts!
            a) Weymouth has a sandy beach (tick), and
            b) initially I thought coach trip or an excursion was more likely, but I can find a 1949 train timetable on line and the 11.10am departure from Wolverhampton LL went to … Weymouth (I’ll leave you to work out if that is a tick).

            Other (and better) private detectives are available!


            1. Interesting information indeed.
              I had a search of some old Weymouth photographs and it’s possible that it could be there.
              Just need to do some more research to get better images of the sea front buildings.

            2. An update – we’ve been going through more old photographs in the last week or so and there are beach ones with Weymouth written on the back!

              1. So, putting it all together, I’m fairly sure your M-i-L is sat on Weymouth beach about 100-150 metres to the east of the clock tower.

                I think the terrace with the distinctive balcony behind where she is sat is still there. In non-Covid times I do a 10K run in Weymouth on Spring Bank Holiday Saturday and if I get there in 2021 I’ll try and snap the exact spot! However, getting to the other side of the county seems as likely as a trip to the Moon at the moment (shame otherwise I’d probably have gone to see the quay train line being lifted).


                1. Yes, it was interesting to find that out. Thanks for the lead. You don’t realise how much you don’t know till you dig deeper.
                  That sounds good but like you say, at the moment, a long way off indeed, it seems.