The beauty of this little bird had totally evaporated sometime during the night and what was left was a few feather scraps and a pair of odd looking yellow feet.
It's that certain " life force" that gives any living thing beauty.
Look at this photo of Jessie Gallen
At 109 she is Scotland's oldest woman
She's just as beautiful as that delicate little egret appeared yesterday afternoon.
I was 21 when I first administered the " last Offices" to a patient, I must have done it hundreds and hundreds of times since
The elderly man had lived seventy years of his life in an asylum .
He had no family, no friends and had a life devoid of the normal happiness's that the rest of us take for granted.
He had no belongings to speak of and even his clothes were picked from the generic clothes store and I remember feeling incredibly sad at the overwhelming " emptiness " of a life not lived.
A nicotine stained enrolled nurse in her sixties had the job of talking me through the procedure of "
laying out" , a job , I am glad to say, she took incredibly seriously.
She showed me how to shave the patient, wash him with a reverence he deserved and dress him carefully in a shroud . We combed his hair precisely then wrapped the body in a sheet, securing the last fold over his face with a safety pin and a gentle comment of " good night"
When we had finished, the enrolled nurse lit a cigarette and took a big drag of it.
Sensing I was still a bit shaken by the whole experience , she offered me a fag which I refused, then shared with me her own personal philosophy on the situation.
" Every life is important" she said carefully ......."no matter how it is lived..remember that fact"
That was in November 1983 on Irby Ward at the West Cheshire Hospital
I have never forgotten it.