Last month, we sadly said goodbye to Moira, a wonderful lady who was supported for a number of years through our Shared Lives scheme in Warrington.
Today, we are sharing a tribute to Moira from Kathryn Yates, our Shared Lives Area Manager in Warrington, who worked closely with her.
A Letter to Moira
“You can’t always get what you want” is not a phrase that you recognised, Moira. You challenged society’s expectations throughout your life and with a strength and determination unrivalled. You had your cake and ate it.
I always thought that you were born into the wrong class. You should have been royalty. You had incredible social skills, making the rounds of tables at events and becoming instantly memorable chatting with people and putting them at ease. You loved cruises, fine wine, fancy food… and Tina.
When we first met, in the early days of Shared Lives, you informed your social worker that you wanted to live with your friend Tina. You were initially told you couldn’t, but you charged me with finding out if you could stay for short breaks. Tina immediately agreed and then, as an after- thought, “I’ll just check with my husband”. And that was the beginning.
Shared Lives works when people connect; perhaps have similar interests or life experiences. And you and Tina connected and understood each other’s motivations and shared each other’s passions. One of these shared passions was cruises.
You had an amazing knack of scouring the papers and finding the best deals, “almost cheaper than staying at home”. You and Tina would eat beans on toast for months to splash out on sea bass and champagne on a cruise around the Caribbean and your coveted world cruise.
Woe betide the barman that cleared your glass before you had drunk every drop of your brandy. Or the event organiser if you didn’t win a decent haul at a raffle, although you often did. The time you bought £10 worth of raffle tickets at the mayor’s ball and won 10 prizes. You needed a table of your own to put them on. You instructed me to bring the car around.
The times you surprised people and challenged their expectations: faultlessly waltzing an unsuspecting gentleman round the dance floor, or organising singing your beloved “The Rose” to a room of 350 people to a standing ovation. You laughed when you posed for the photos to advertise Shared Lives and we asked you to dry the dishes.
You railed against your dementia diagnosis with Tina’s unwavering support to ensure you enjoyed every day. You generously shared your expertise and supported the dementia project with your devastating lived experience. You helped us to think differently, think bigger, to not stop.
Your final days were spent with your adoring mum and Tina; your family and your Shared Lives family, connected, enriched, grateful and not sure what we are going to do without you.
Rest in Peace Moira. It has been a privilege.