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Dignity In Death. - My Tribute To Val. (A Very Dignified Lady In Life And In Death ).

Updated on May 15, 2013
A dignified lady of the first order.
A dignified lady of the first order. | Source

Dignity In Death.

Do a Google search about dignity in death and all you get are sites and articles about helping relatives to die ( euthanasia ). Likewise you also see arguments for and against a change in the law in the UK to protect relatives who try to carry out their loved ones wishes without fear of prosecution and ultimately a jail sentence.

That is not what this article is about and is my opportunity to add my version of what I see as dying with dignity to the mix. Intended both to help others come to terms with the death of a loved one and to raise the question about what you may want for yourself when your time comes.

Have You Observed Someone Die With Dignity ?

Not the question perhaps you would expect to be asked. If you have seen a relative or loved one die after a long or even short illness it is still a great shock to you when the person passes away. I know this as I have witnessed it recently with my lovely Mother In Law. You may have seen earlier articles where I have talked about her when she first became ill after suffering two strokes in the same day. This article is dedicated to her and is my tribute to her, but is at the same time written so that you may take some comfort if you too have recently lost someone who was as dear to you as Val was to me. Sometimes you just have to look beyond the tragedy and try to make a positive contribution and to put into perspective how you can use what the person meant to you to somehow keep their memory alive. Val's memory will always be alive as she smiles out on those who read this article.

Wrestling With My Conscience.

I must admit the decision to write this has been a tough one and has played on my mind ever since her death. Wrestling with my conscience I have been over and over in my mind, worrying about whether I could do justice to her, by combining a tribute with an informative personal account of seeing her leave this life with dignity.

Helping others to come to terms with death and to make them realise that their loved one died with dignity, would I believe, have the approval of Val herself which for me would be a good enough reason to proceed without fear of not giving it my best shot.

By writing this tribute it is already helping me to understand what a special person she really was, because, as I write I can recall many of the wonderful comments which were made at her funeral and the messages written for her in cards and within her obituary.

Oh yes a very special person was our Val.

For the moment I will leave Val's tribute to concentrate on my experience in identifying, for me, what dying with dignity is all about.

Dying With Dignity Is........

Seeing and knowing what the person wants in the last days, weeks of their life. If you know what the person wants and how they want their life to be at the end is very important to all concerned. Strangely enough it is not a subject which many speak of with their loved ones when they are living and well. Of course nobody wants to think about what will happen to them in death. I can tell you that if your family know your intentions it will provide great comfort to them when they are left behind as they know that your wishes have been carried out. Basically you need to think about and communicate what it is you want for yourself and your relatives when you are no longer here.

Being dignified in death and the way the inevitable is handled by the person says much about and very much reflects the character of the person throughout their life, I believe. There are many things throughout life which happen that cause us not to keep our dignity in tact and you will be able to recall many I am sure. Dignity in death is so important to make those final hours as peaceful and as comforting for everyone concerned. Not being at her bedside when she died hurts for those who could not get there in time, but I am glad I got to see her alive for the last time only the day before. She was very ill that day, but her dignity was very much in tact and on full view with her behaving in the same way that she always had regardless of how she must have been feeling.

She fought her way to the end and passed peacefully in the arms of her husband. Dignity in it's purest form. Being able to go being held by the one you love and who loves you is the most poignant yet dignified of things ever. I am sure it is the way we would all want be released. Sadly many will not get this last honour for various reasons. If you are lucky enough to be gifted the chance to help your significant other in this way then you are truly blessed and should feel privileged to have been allowed to do this final act.

Not only knowing, but seeing them as now being safe is very important after they die. I got a great sense of knowing that Val is now safe and at peace when I visited her in the Chapel of Rest a few hours prior to her funeral. As with the great Pharos, there she was with a few of her favourite possessions gathered during her illness. A simple doll which gave her great comfort during her stay in hospital. Placed with her, were the unopened Mother's day cards which she would have received. Renowned for giving everyone a chocolate orange at Christmas, she took with her one from her family. Having been in hospital over Christmas 2012 she never got to give personally, the nine she had bought ready for the big day. All of this makes me feel better knowing that she did not go out of this world the way that we come in....with nothing. She went out knowing and taking with her all of our love and messages intended for her.

My hope is that you do the same when someone you love dearly, passes away. Let them take something away with them for the journey,along with your love. To some reading this it could give the impression that what I say is a little selfish. Selfish for the reason that you want to get comfort over the days and weeks to come, in order to make carrying on without them, that little bit easier. To others it will seem perfectly natural to want to know that they are safe and that you did your little bit to make the process so much easier for yourself.

Tribute To A Lovely Person, Val.

Val was the loveliest person you are ever likely to meet. Her humour and her need to mother everyone shone out early in her life as well as at the end. She was taken from us far too soon to the point that I feel personally robbed. None of her family were ready to let her go and we have heavy hearts with great sadness. To family members reading this I apologise in advance if what I write makes you cry as the raw feelings of sadness are still present so soon after her passing. My message to all is to cry of course but at the same time be brave and reflect on what she meant to us all and be thankful for the time we had with her. As was said at the funeral service by Vickie, we were privileged to have been granted a further 3 months with her when all hope seemed lost in the early days of her short recovery.

For me she was dignified and clearly accepted the card she had been dealt without question or recourse. Intending to get home and make the best of her time it was her recovery and spending time with family which she most yearned for. Even making the plea when readmitted to hospital after a set back to be taken home showed us where she most wanted to be. Alas this was never to come to fruition and she passed away in hospital.

Showing great joviality and spirit only hours before she was taken was proof of the person she was. Brave to the end I am touched at the last words she spoke to me which were " I love you" . Shocked as I stood at the foot of her bed watching her in obvious discomfort and amazed at the sharpness of her retort as I failed to say it back as quickly as she would have liked, she turned to Tracey and said," He's not going to say it back is he?". What do you take me for ? Of course I said it back and never have I meant it so much. We all loved her and will continue to love her for all time. For this reason I chose to be the one to pay her my respect being the last one in the Chapel before her cremation. Everyone filed out to the sound of Whitney Houston and the song from the film 'The Bodyguard', I will always love you. With a kiss to her coffin I found it the most difficult thing I have ever had to do and that was to leave her and walk away for the last time knowing she was gone for good. If I felt this the Lord only knows what her blood family must have felt like. A piece of everyone's heart went with her and their lives will never be the same again.

"She's Gone, but never to be forgotten".

Valerie, 'Val' Marriott has gone and she takes a piece of all of us with her. She is safe and at peace. Safe in the knowledge that she has our love forever. She takes that piece of us tucked away deep in her loving heart and we must all be sad, happy, brave and strong, for it would be her wish that we carry on and be there or each other.

Val loved and was loved and throughout her illness remained dignified and serene and I believe she taught us a great deal about how to be happy with the hand we have been dealt.

Her life was cut short it is true, but it is time for celebration of her wonderful life as a wife and great mother, grandma, sister, sister in law, auntie and daughter. Everyone who has known her is all the better for being part of her life.

There will never be another like her and this makes Val Marriott truly unique.

She's gone from our daily lives, but not from our thoughts.

She's gone, but not from our hearts.

She's gone, she's gone, she's gone.


I want to believe that...........

She's on a journey helped by those who had met her in this life.

She will now meet someone whom she could never meet in this life,

a very special little girl we were never meant to keep.

To that special little girl I ask, "please greet and look after grandma and keep her safe

until we are all together again, one day".

Good night Val and sleep well from all who are left behind.


"Sleep well Val, good night and god bless" from all of your loving family.


Eternal Light To Light The Way.

Earlier Articles About Val.

Read about when Thelma and Louise visited Val in hospital.


Take a look at the very first article which Val's spirit of body and mind inspired.

© poshcoffeeco ( Steve Mitchell )

The copyright of the work of poshcoffeeco is protected. Please do not publish any work of Steve Mitchell without first receiving his personal permission. Any attempt to illegally copy his work will be subject to the laws of the land of Great Britain at the time of publishing.

© poshcoffeeco


Submit a Comment

  • poshcoffeeco profile imageAUTHOR

    Steve Mitchell 

    5 years ago from Cambridgeshire

    Josh Miranda, it's only been around 6 week's since we lost her. We still find it hard to believe that we will never see her again. I'm sure it will become easier as time goes on. Thanks for your kind words.

  • Josh Miranda profile image

    Josemer Lafuente 

    5 years ago from Philippines

    She will be missed by many.. Such an incredible woman! I'am so sorry for your loss, Steve.

    Val, wherever she is, is now at peace.

    I know that all of us will eventually die and no one will get out of this world alive. The one thing I'm most worried about are the people that's left behind, too many people are surely grieving upon losing her up until now... I hope you can all move on...... Hugs..... and take care!

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Richert 

    5 years ago from Southern Illinois

    This is a beautiful tribute to Val. It brought tears of remembrance of my mother, and two sisters who left this earth much too soon. I too know that we will meet again and that sustains me. Thank you for sharing her life and death with us.

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    This is such a moving and beautiful tribute Steve. My own mother died in 2008 in all of her childrens arms. We were with her for the whole night previously, talking, playing music, even the dog was there. She loved us all so much, she would feel comfort hearing us together. We knew she could hear us as she moved her legs in time with the music. Its def what she would have wanted. Death is such an alien thing for us human beings to comprehend so it makes the sting much more comforting to bear when our loved ones die with dignity. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    What a lovely tribute to your mother-in-law! I'm sure she would be so pleased. From my weekly support group meetings, I know how important tributes and legacies are to those left behind. She did have a lovely exit, with her husband holding her. How wonderful. Thank you for writing this.

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 

    5 years ago from New York

    Steve you have said it all so well. Losing someone you love is one of the hardest things you ever do in this life and you've written about your beloved mother-in-law beautifully. She must surely be smiling to have had such a wonderful son-in-law who continues to appreciate her. God bless you and your family in your time of sorrow.

    Voted up, awesome, and beautiful.

  • sydneyspence profile image

    Sydney Spence 

    5 years ago from Austin Texas

    Steve I am sorry for your loss and my prayers go out to you and your family. This was a beautiful tribute and without knowing Val personally, I still believe she is touched by what you have said about her.

  • poshcoffeeco profile imageAUTHOR

    Steve Mitchell 

    5 years ago from Cambridgeshire

    Aww thanks Jools99. We are missing her terribly. Thanks for your comment and support.

  • Jools99 profile image


    5 years ago from North-East UK

    Steve, Very touching tribute. Val sounds like she was a wonderful lady and will be much missed. You did her proud here!

  • poshcoffeeco profile imageAUTHOR

    Steve Mitchell 

    5 years ago from Cambridgeshire

    Hi rebeccamealey. You are right it does help to get it all out there and yes she was very special. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 

    5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    This is a poignant piece, Steve. I can relate to your feelings. We were all at my Dad's side when he passed. I'll bet writing this helped with your grieving. Your mother-in-law sounds like a great lady.


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