L: Final thoughts

These will be our final words on this blog. Before we leave you I just want to thank you all for your wonderful kindnesses and support in words and deeds and also for the wonderful tributes given at the Celebration. It was a joyous occasion as Mr Kidlung wished and he would have been amazed and possibly even humbled by them all.

I cannot hope to write to everyone but please know how very much all your wonderful words are appreciated.

As requested by many people, below is a link to the Celebration tributes – my sincere apologies if I have omitted anyone. Celebration Tributes Jan 2016

So, from us all, a final thank-you and I hope many of you will keep in touch.



JJ: Celebration preparations

Three days ago was Mr Kidlung’s cremation. Mrs Kidlung, my sister and I went to the crematorium, listened to Mendelssohn’s ‘Oh for the Wings of a Dove’, cried a bit and then went and had a lovely lunch in his honour with a splendid bottle of wine… and laughed a lot. In this we were following Mr Kidlung’s instructions. Next we’ll be popping him in his niche in the Long Barrow.

Thank you to everyone who has told us they are coming to the Celebration on the 22nd January. We’re looking forward to seeing you all then.

Here are a few more pieces of information:

Letting us know

Please let us know if you are thinking of coming, even if you’re not sure yet. It helps us plan. (jdjscelebration@gmail.com)


Quite a number of people have offered to share memories of Mr Kidlung, which is wonderful. Hopefully even more may muster courage to say something on the day. If you have been thinking about speaking, do drop us a line even if you’re not sure. (jdjscelebration@gmail.com).

If you would like to share memories but can’t be there on the day (or have reservations about speaking up) then please consider writing instead. If you write something and email it to us, we can pin it up and maybe have someone else read it out.


We would like to have a display of photographs at the Celebration of Mr Kidlung from the many phases of his life. If you have photos of him, please consider uploading them at:


It would be really helpful if one or two people could take on the task of printing out photos and creating this display board at the Celebration. If you’d like to help with that, please email. ( jdjscelebration@gmail.com)


Mr Kidlung’s mother is now very advanced in years and so won’t be attending the Celebration. She would, however, very much like to watch or listen to a recording of the day. If there’s someone out there who’s a dab hand at recording things and would like to volunteer to take charge of making a recording, that would be enormously helpful. Please email (jdjscelebration@kidlung.com).


Details of parking in Chippenham are now on the Celebration page.

JJ: Coming together

Mrs Kidlung would like to extend to everyone her thanks and deep appreciation for all the wonderful messages and support she has been receiving. They mean a lot to us.

We have been faring reasonably well in the 10 days since Mr Kidlung’s passing, gathering together for Christmas good cheer. We’re now turning our attention to planning for “the funeral” and such like.

Or rather, we would be planning a funeral if it were not for the fact that Mr Kidlung left extensive instructions to make it easy for us and we were quickly abused of any notion of a funeral. Instead, his attention was focused on creating an occasion where his friends and family could gather together in a spirit of celebration.

More specifically, there will be 3 events: Cremation, Embarrowment and Celebration.


Mr Kidlung saw his cremation as an entirely practical and non-religious affair and so will be attended only by Mrs Kidung and his two children.


Mr Kidlung was always an admirer of innovative and enterprising individuals and so his fancy was tickled when he heard that a Wiltshire farmer had constructed a neolithic-style long barrow  and was selling niches in it, where one’s mortal remains could be placed. He promptly bought himself a niche and wishes to be placed it, or “embarrowed” as he termed it. The embarrowment will be an informal affair for close family, a sort of neolithic day out in the countryside.

Celebration of life

Mr Kidlung’s real interest was in what he called a “Celebration”, what more conventional minds might call a strictly secular memorial service. It is for this that he imagined his wider circle of friends, family and colleagues might gather.

All are welcome to the Celebration, which will be take place in Chippenham on Friday 22nd January 2016 at 11:30am. We would love everyone to come but would appreciate your notifying us to help plan numbers for the catering etc.

We envisage the Celebration as an occasion where we will share memories of Mr Kidlung and his eccentricities, what he has meant to us and what we have learned from him. Everyone who wishes to is invited to speak.

Further information and how to notify us can be found on the web page: http://www.kidlung.org/celebration-of-life.

JJ: Days rather than weeks

Lesley Holley, the hospice nurse, visited yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon and, after seeing Mr Kidlung, shared her perspective with Mrs Kidlung and me (their son).

She advised us that she felt we should think in terms of having days rather than weeks with him.

Mr Kidlung has weakened sharply day by day since Saturday. Up to now he has come downstairs for a short while in the middle of day but now is mostly asleep or dozing in bed. He is calm and reports no particular pain when stationary, although some when moving around.

Mostly we now find his speech quite difficult to understand as it is slurred by dryness of mouth, weakness and breathlessness, as well as the ‘aphasia’ of not being able to find the word one seeks.

Mr Kidlung’s awareness of time of day and place is slipping. Even the boundaries of waking and dreaming are blurring for him. Night is gradually falling here.


JJ: Peaceful at home

Mr Kidlung hasn’t posted anything for the last few weeks, as there has been little obvious news to report. However, even no news is a kind of news in itself and my father has asked me to keep you, his avid readers, updated.

Mr Kidlung is generally coping well and is relatively cheerful but weak and extremely fatigued. He tends to rise from his bed and come downstairs around breakfast, lunch and dinner times but even then he often dozes in his reclining armchair, kindly proveded by the hospice.

As he says, in part this is simply what one naturally does when there’s nothing else one can do! His hip pains him if makes much use of it and he gets breathless very easily, so moving around is out. His mind feels foggy and sight is blurry, so productive tasks are not really possible and even reading is limited. Talking on the phone is very difficult, as it’s hard to follow his speech without the visual clues of face-to-face interraction.

He enjoys visitors and rallies well while they’re here. We’ve had a lot recently, with many family and old friends and colleagues making the trip out to Chippenham. Both my mother and I have also enjoyed catching up with these old friends.

A little of the tiredness comes from the wearying effect of his background pain and a little comes from the medication that helps to ease that pain. It’s possible that the outpatient treatment for elevated calcium levels which he will receive on Monday will lift the fatigue and brain fog but he is not too optimistic about that.

It’s likely that much of what he’s experiencing has no isolatable cause, being bluntly termed “disease progression”. Generally speaking, he is becoming a little weaker week by week but the changes have been gradual and slight.

We’re looking forward to a family Christmas with Mr Kidlung, his wife, children, their partners and grandchildren all gathered around the fire.

We wish you all a very happy Christmas and prosperous New Year.