Ruth Cave died last Sunday. I filmed Ruth as part of the TUESDAYS film, at the Maggie’s Centre. I keep thinking about her. I am making a DVD for the family of all the footage Ruth and I shot together – at home with the girls in the garden, cooking in the kitchen, walking on the huge beach at Monifieth. Ruth grins at me from the computer, arguing, telling stories, questioning me, telling me what to do with the film. Vibrant, alive.
It is confusing, comforting, disquieting. I phoned one of her friends, Judy Wilson, this morning and she told me about the funeral – how beautiful her girls looked, and how her father spoke eloquently about Ruth as a mother – using the Jesuit maxim 'give me a child until 7 and I will show you the man'. Ruth didn’t have as long as she should have. But her love and courage and the sheer intelligence and joy she focused on her girls lives on.
While Ruth's life was being celebrated in Dundee (she had told everyone to party: they played the Chili Peppers) I was in the Edinburgh BBC radio studio with Doreen Asher from Strathcarron Hospice. Dorene had arrived as an in-patient to Strathcarron Hospice in so much pain she couldn't see how to continue. The amazing palliative care team relieved her pain, started her on physio, relaxation, aromatherapy and she was able to return home.
Dorene, the Strathcarron Director of Nursing, Marjorie MacKay and I were being interviewed by Sally Magnusson on Radio Scotland for Dying Matters Awareness Week about using a camera in the hospice. Dorene is now a day patient, coming into the hospice once a week.
She has a talent she likes to keep under wraps. But it is impossible to refuse Sally Magnusson – and Dorene ended the programme with her incredible voice, singing 'Wouldn’t it be lovely' from My Fair Lady. She is a star. You can hear it on the BBC iPlayer (from minute 59.25) for the next seven days.
Dorene's voice brings me so much pleasure. Ruth would love that: she wanted her funeral to be celebrated. Listening to Dorene's perfect voice, breaking on the notes of longing and acceptance, I raise a toast – to life, to Ruth, to friendship and pleasure.
Photos: Amy Hardie