Insa’s Diary – March 2001
I’m back at the hospice again, with a little bag full of homoeopathic remedies for my leg spasms. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. I guess the effect is cumulative rather than immediate, so I’ll give it some time. Went to two proms concerts at the Royal Concert Hall, candlelit baroque and the last night. It was great! Exhausting too, though, as I’m not sleeping very well. It’s too hot at night, and the bays are away from the windows and there’s no fresh air. Well, the big news of the week is that it’ll be over on the 16th, because I’m going home! They’ve decided that going to my new flat is the best thing for me to do. It’s a bit daunting, but I’m looking forward to it, too. My very own space, and big windows!! Tell you more soon…
On Thursday I finally got a chance to visits the flat! Along with the community physio, ot, social worker, hospice physio, my parents and Stewart, The place felt very full, and everyone seemed to be talking above my head. The bed hadn’t arrived yet so I couldn’t even try out the new hoist! Still, it was worth it.The flat is lovely, huge bay window in the lounge, space for planting herbs and – we’re moving in TOMORROW! I’m so happy. And yet scared. I had some bad news from the doctors.It would appear my liver cancer has already returned and is beginning to affect my lungs again.Time to batter it with the next weapon – MISTLETOE!The echinacea and homoeopathy have worked wonders on my leg spasms, so why not for the cancer. So all you people out there, thanks for your continued support, and do keep praying.
PS, Jo, if you are still reading this, Nigel couldn’t have sent me a lovelier surprise – thank you sooooooo much!!!
More news from HOME, when I’m out of my planned hibernation period!
24th July 2001
Insa passed away in her sleep at 9.20 on Saturday 21st July. She got her wish and got home on Tuesday 17th, she got the peace and time with her family that she so much wanted. The cancer grew so fast – after her last message above the doctors confirmed that they thought the cancer was coming back and that the next week was critical – Insa was made aware of this and she was able to say & do things she wanted. She passed peacefully and quickly in her sleep.
Insa will be cremated on Friday 27th July at Clydebank Crematorium at 2.00pm. Everyone is more than welcome to attend – please don’t wear black unless you want to – please don’t get flowers, donations instead to Marie Curie Centre, Hunters Hill, Belmont Road, Springburn, Glasgow. We will then go to the West Highway Hotel – close to the crematorium, again, everyone is welcome to attend.
Insa was/is unique. Please remember the good times and don’t dwell too long on what has happened. She fought with so much strength & energy that we should be proud – even on her last day she still had the willpower and desire to live – she wanted to go shopping on Saturday morning, her energy just ran out. For 5/6 weeks everything was going for her – her hair & eyelashes were growing, she put on weight, she got stronger, she started transferring more easily, she knew she was getting home, her twitches almost disappeared, she looked at finishing er PhD and getting back to work – she didn’t just have bad times – remember the good, the cancer was just too strong for her. She is with us all and always will be. Please keep reading this page as it should offer hope and strength when you need it.
Parting Ceremony for Insa – 27 July 2001.
Insa was accompanied into the grounds and into the Crematorium with pipe music played by her ex-landlord and friend Willie Park. Her coffin was carried by two family, two friends and two work colleagues. She had 3 bunches of flowers – one bright with sunflowers and vivid colours, one scottish with thistles & tartan and one pig(I couldn’t let her go without a pig!!). Some red roses were put on her coffin by my family.
Herald: On behalf of Stewart and his and Insa’s family I would like to welcome you all here today and thank you for coming. Insa requested that as much as possible of her parting ceremony be done outside as that is where she felt her spirit would be. In respect of her wishes would you all please gather outside in a circle and the ceremony will begin.
All left the crematorium to Beethoven (pastoral) and formed a circle outside in the bright sunshine – we formed a circle on the lawn amongst numerous trees – just the way Insa wanted it.
Herald: Let us begin by giving peace.
North: May there be peace in the North.
East: May there be peace in the East.
South: May there be peace in the South.
West: May there be peace in the West.
All: May there be peace throughout the world.
Herald: Let the four directions be honoured that power and radiance may enter our circle for the good of all beings.
North: With the blessing of the Great Bear of the starry heavens and the deep fruitful earth, we call upon the powers of the North.
East: With the blessing of the Hawk of Dawn soaring in the pure clear air, we call upon the powers of the East.
South: With the blessing of the Great Stag in the heat of the chase and the inner fire of the sun, we call upon the powers of the South.
West: With the blessing of the Salmon of Wisdom who dwells within the sacred waters of the pool, we call upon the powers of the West.
North: Let honour be given to the Spirit that brings us here today.
East: Let honour be given to our ancestors without whom we would not be standing here.
South: Let honour be given to the Spirit of this Place. May we all be richer for having come here.
Herald: Insa fought courageously against an overwhelming cancer – I now ask Rowena to speak to us.
THE DOLPHIN by Rowena Love
Cancer’s a queer fish:
anaemic amoeba endlessly mutating;
puffer-fish growths bloated with poison;
or shoals of cells
that prowl like piranhas
stripping my health in their feeding frenzy.
But attitude can attack back,
till I’m the dolphin swimming free
from this sea
I’ll trawl my system,
catching cancers and fears,
netting them to wriggle and squirm:
I’m the dolphin swimming free.
Modern medicine may have me filleted,
canned and processed,
pumped full of additives –
but the rest is up to me…
I’m the dolphin swimming free.
Dread might dorsal my spine,
tears flood my face with brine
but I… CAN… DO… THIS…
I am the dolphin swimming free.
Herald: Grant unto us, I ask, the power of the spirit to bring brilliance of the eternal splendour to one who has now entered the invisible. Wherever she may be, and on whatever plane, she may now pursue her ideal, let her be blessed with a divine rest and an utter cessation from strife.
We stand at a gateway now, a gateway that each of us must step through at some time in our lives. Insa has stepped through this gateway already. Her soul is immersed in the shining light that is the mother and father of us all. The sadness and pain that we feel now is in our knowledge and our experience of the fact that we ourselves cannot yet cross that threshold to be with her until our time has come.
Herald: Insa loved life – all aspects of it – especially her work. It combined her love of books with her love of people. I will now ask Eleanor, Grainne & Natasha to speak to us.
IF I SHOULD GO BEFORE YOU (Joyce Grenfel)
If I should go before you,
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone,
Nor when I’m gone speak in a Sunday voice,
But be the usual selves I have known,
Weep if you must,
Parting is hell,
But life goes on,
So sing as well.
DEATH IS NOTHING AT ALL (Henry Scott Holland 1847 – 1918)
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped away into the next room,
I am I and you are you;
Whatever we were to each other. That we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used,
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we shared together.
Let me name ever be the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant,
It is the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well.
Herald: Physical death is for the person experiencing it, a birth, a freeing of the self from the limitations of the body so that the soul can grow and learn and move in a brighter world. Insa is in this brighter world now and it is time for us to give thanks for her time on earth, for the joy, laughter, love and wisdom which she experienced and which she gave.
Herald: Insa will be most missed by Stewart and her family – I would like to ask Stewart now to talk to us.
ANCIENT SPIRIT Written by Insa Thierling (May 2001) – In memory of Chris Turner & Insa Thierling
I am on the wing of the falcon,
I am in the rustling of the leaves,
I am in the crackling of the fire,
I am in the rays of the sun,
I am in the whispering of the streamlet,
I am in the splashing of the sea,
I am in the hum of the stones,
I am in the heartbeat of Gaia,
I am in the air,
I am in the fire,
I am in the water,
I am in the earth,
I am spirit,
Watch and listen.
Herald: Let us have a moment of silence in which we each, in our own way, give thanks to Insa for all that she gave us.
Herald: Let us join hands and say together the prayer which unites all.
All: We swear by peace and love to stand
Heart to heart and hand in hand.
Mark, O Spirit, and hear us now
Confirming this our sacred vow.
(repeat twice more)
Herald: Let us join together singing Awens. The word Awen means “flowing spirit” or “inspiration” and Insa was, is and will be, an inspiration to many.
All: Awen, Awen, Awen
North: Let all be thanked and honour given to those who have made this gathering possible.
East: Let us carry the Spirit of our Ancestors out with us and continue to give them honour.
South: Let thanks be given to the Spirit of this Place.
North: May the lands of Earth, her forests, rivers, seas and all creatures upon her be preserved and protected.
East: May the World be filled with Peace and Light
South: May the World be filled with Radiance, Joy and Harmony.
West: May Love pervade all those who seek to serve. May our souls be united thereby.
Herald: In silence now as we move back inside we send Insa our own blessings for a safe and joyous life in the Other World – filled with peace and clarity and love.
All entered the crematorium for the final stage.
Herald: As the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, so too are each of us born and so too do each of us die. But as the Sun returns anew each day, so too do we return to earth, refreshed and renewed. Now, Insa, go safely, go well, go surely. Our hearts are with you. And you remain in our hearts.
The coffin covered by curtains being drawn to the sound of the Eurythmics – “There must be an angel”.
The congregation left the crematorium again to the sound of pipe music and gathered at the West Highway Hotel to celebrate Insa’s unique life. More than 100 people attended the service and 83 went to the hotel afterwards to have a drink on Insa (For the whiskey drinkers – Lagavulin of course – her favourite tipple!).