December 14th – Update

December 14, 2009

Thank you, all, for attending Julia’s funeral. It was good to see so many friends. And thank you everyone for your love and support.
The Mary Wallace Centre would also like to thank everyone for their kind donations.£725 was donated which will help give others in a similar  situation the help and support they need.

The blog is now closed to comments but will remain here in memory of Julia.

This is the “Order of Service” for those that could not hear or could not attend.

THE CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE OF JULIA NEWSAM

aged 62 years

Good afternoon everyone. We have come here today to share in a ceremony of leave-taking for Julia which will be a secular ceremony in keeping with what she would have wished. My name is Helen Bush and I have been invited to officiate today at the family’s request as a Humanist. A humanist funeral ceremony provides an opportunity to take our leave of someone that we have known but it is more than that – it is a time to celebrate the life and the personality of that person and to give thanks for the part that they played in our lives.

Naturally this is a sad time for you all and there are others too who are sharing in your sadness who are unable to be with us today but who will be thinking of us at this time.

Whatever our beliefs, there is a need in us all for rituals and ceremonies, a time to share significant events in our lives with those close to us whether they be happy or sad times and I hope that this occasion will be meaningful for you whatever your beliefs. Although there will not be the traditional religious content in this service there will be time for reflection or private prayer after the tributes and of course you can take your final leave of her at the graveside after this part of the ceremony comes to a close in whatever way seems appropriate for you.

The songs and readings have been chosen especially for today and reflect Julia’s interests and taste. Our first reading by Herbert Read has been chosen to reflect on the significance of each individual in the wider context of mankind – it is called The Tree of Life and is particularly appropriate for Julia’s woodland burial and her love of the outdoors.

THE TREE OF LIFE

The death of each of us is in the order of things: it follows life as surely as night follows day. We can take the tree of life as a symbol. The human race is the trunk and branches of this tree, and individual men and women are the leaves which appear one season, flourish for a summer and then die. I too am like a leaf of this tree and one day I shall be torn off by a storm or simply decay and fall – and become part of the earth about its roots. But, while I live, I am conscious of the tree’s flowing sap and steadfast strength. Deep down in my consciousness is the consciousness of a collective life, a life of which I am a part and to which I make a minute but unique contribution. When I die and fall, the tree remains, nourished to some small degree by my manifestation of life. Millions of leaves have preceded me and millions will follow me; but the tree itself grows and endures. Herbert Read

Death comes to us all, it is inextricably linked to life. The significance of life lies in the purposes, achievements and events that take place in that period between birth and death. We have no knowledge of what comes before birth or after death and we all have to create our own sense of purpose and meaning in life. Those whose lives have consisted of living well are those who create value and meaning in life and Julia was surely one of those. Although I never knew her personally we are all affected by the death of an individual because we do not live in isolation – in the words of John Donne – “No man is an island”. When I met Julia’s family to discuss today’s ceremony I soon got an impression of the kind of person that she was and with the help of those I spoke to and contributions from family members and friends hopefully we can capture something of the essence of the Julia that you all knew. We are going to reflect on the contribution she made, not only to her family and those close to her, but also to the wider society to which she belonged.

TRIBUTES

Helen Bush on behalf of Rob

Julia was born in Malvern but grew up in Norfolk. She spent the majority of her life in Cambridge since 1973 and considered herself a Cambridge person. She and Rob lived together for 20 years and had little time apart, sharing many interests and were very close. At one significant time 10 years ago, when they were both made redundant, they made the decision to travel the world and had great experiences including visiting relatives in Australia and the States followed by a visit to Mexico all of which they thoroughly enjoyed. They also enjoyed walking holidays in Spain and Cornwall, both enjoying the outdoor activities and camping. Rob described Julia to me as bright in all senses of the word and you will hear from others here today of her many interests and pastimes.

Sarah Newsam – her sister

Sarah spoke about her memories of Julia

Sara Callen

Julia,

Sleep peacefully
Wrapped in a blanket made of memories and love – of family and friends
Rich warm reds and russets, threaded with gold
Bright sea-sky blues and sunlit sparkles
Gentle shades of moonlit silver and misty greys
Subtle earth shades of greens and browns,
Woven of adventures, and everyday familiarity
Warm as toast, gentle as down
Sleep in comfort
Drifting on a cloud of dreams

Brigid – her cousin
Farewell to Julia

“Just a few words to say Farewell to Julia, my cousin. Julia was much more than a cousin, after the holidays together in childhood, we became friends, saw each other regularly into our teens and twenties until the present.

Julia came to visit me when l lived in Toulouse, in the South of France, an incredible 40 yrs ago. I still have a black and white photo of Julia lying languidly on the banks of the River Garonne, down there. Not long after Julia moved to Spain and l visited her there, we trod the streets of Granada and Cordoba, discovered beautiful Arab inspired courtyards and listened to sublime live Flamenco. I was there when she noticed the first stirrings of life within, leading to the arrival of Viv!

When Julia moved to Cambridge, was it really over 30 yrs ago? I was a regular visitor, I have so many happy memories of our time together. Julia loved and felt completely at home in Cambridge (as Sarah just said). We explored every college, museum – Kettlesyard, Fitzwilliam, little galleries, cafes. Every visit to Cambridge was to see or meet up with Julia. I will associate every street, Parkers Piece, Jesus Green, with Julia, walking and talking with Julia, catching up on our news, sharing thoughts, supporting each other in decisions and dilemmas along the path of life.

Julia had a phenomenal memory for people, she would remind me about encounters, events and people from years before, sometimes that l had completely forgotten. Her interest in all those she met was immense, yet she was always modest, understanding, undemanding, lived lightly. I valued her company, her unusual take on life, we had great times together and Cambridge will never be the same for me without you, Julia,
So Farewell Julia.”

Fiona

“I remember Julia as such a friendly smiling personality that I sat down the other day to see if I could ever remember having seen her frown. And I can once or twice. It was while we were working together at Home Wireless Networks in the software group. As part of her job Julia was responsible for co-ordinating and compiling each version of software from hundreds of little bits of unrelated code and files. The frown was part of her intense concentration to make sure the version was as perfect as it could be. She spent time and effort in her work to get things absolutely right from writing the code, fixing bugs or releasing software.
Julia could apply this attention to detail in many other spheres though. It showed when she was learning to swing fire chains. For those who don’t know these are two long chains about a metre and a half long with burning paraffin brands attached to the bottom. When lifted and whirled around the head in circles in the dark the chains make waves and patterns of fire. Julia began learning using POI; ribboned weights attached at the end of long strings that simulate the burning brands. I met her quite by chance one afternoon whist out walking on Granchester Meadows. While out for an afternoon stroll she’d taken out her poi and was practising her swings in order to get her routine exactly right for a display. Her practise and persistence paid off; later that year at Gareth and Lisa Dawsons’ wedding reception she gave a spectacular show of fire patterns after dark, creating her whirling circles and loops with no error to a background of classical music.
Music was a big part of Julia’s life too, especially combined with her love of dance. She studied Eastern Dancing for a while and performed that in her dance school show. Julia could dance anytime though; In the Radegund pub to slow Jazz after a mohito or two or after a few glasses of red wine at home. A fond memory is of Julia trying to encourage me to dance like an African Tribal Member which ended up with us giggling at each other and jumping on and off the sofa.
And that was one of the best things. Julia was a wonderful friend to share things with. Even if you had not seen her for some months or even years she could pick up the threads of your last conversation together as if it were yesterday that you’d last talked. She was a good friend to so many people. So thank you ,Julia for your friendship.”

Ila

On Julia
2nd November 2009

“I first met Julia in 1984. She had come to find out about a computer job at Cambridge Women’s Resources Centre where I worked. As soon as I met her I had a feeling of instant and deep friendship which I now realise was more due to Julia’s skills than mine. In fact, we had so much to say to each other that I walked her home when we’d finished. She has been a close friend ever since. I was slightly nervous when she met Rob as I thought relationships often mean the end of former friendships but I should have known that Julia would choose wisely and it meant an extra friend in Rob rather than a diminished friendship.

When I think of Julia I think of the quote from the Bible about faith, hope and charity – charity in the true sense of the word “caring” not about doing good things for unfortunate people. Julia brought hope with her intelligent and enquring mind. I can still hear her going “hmmm” as she tried to work something out. And what a range of interests she had whether it was explaining the machines she worked with, talking about politics, women’s issues, the stars in the sky or the books she enjoyed reading. I have never been made to think so hard about so much, although I’m afraid I still don’t understand the Bumps after many explanations – probably because the explanations were accompanied by many pints of beer. I spent many enjoyable evenings in pubs with Julia – the Free Press of course, but also the Rhadegund, the Tram Depot and the White Hart. And we talked up the world.

I think of the word faith as part of her because Julia was the most straightforward and honest person I have ever known. Not tactless, but if she didn’t agree with what you said she would say so. I’ve never come across that combination of being both sharp and gentle. I think it was because Julia had an instinctive recognition of the truth of people but she was never judgemental.

She decided not to go for the job at CWRC after she was offered an interview. Most people would have rung to say they weren’t coming but not Julia. She turned up for the interview to tell us why – that there were other personal reasons and it had nothing to do with the job or with us. Only Julia would have the kindness and the honesty to be able to continue to build bridges when turning you down! After that, when another computer job came up I made sure she went through with the application and we had great times working together. From this work emerged two initiatives that later turned into social get togethers – the Women’s Information Network for Girls in School (WINGS) and Computerwise. So I got to see even more of her through these. CWRC when we worked together was at the heady beginning of an emerging feminism and was run by a collective. You couldn’t have so many strong minded women and not have arguments. Today they would probably be called robust discussions but maybe because the politics is missing in our drive to be individuals. Julia had her opinions but the anger in some of these discussions distressed her. She often felt faint. Years later when both of us had stopped working at the centre, I was talking to her about a CWRC issue and she said, “Oh no I feel faint again”. I was touched by her combination of strength, honesty and yet extraordinary empathy.

And that is the third word that I connect with her – charity. Julia was the most generous and caring person I have known. When one of us had difficulty getting to WINGS it was Julia who organised a car rota. I found out quite by chance that she spent time with Charlie so that Harry could go to her book club. I jumped at the opportunity to join her in this so we could spend more enjoyable evenings talking about the world. Only Julia’s interest in the books Harry was reading led to an invitation to her to join the book club and so the evenings ended. I’m sure the book club benefited!

I’d like to end with one other example of her “caring”. She knew how curious I was about friends’ families. I come from a large extensive family in India and I found it strange when I first came to England that you would know someone closely and yet never meet their families. So one day when Rob’s family was meeting hers, she invited me. I’ve never forgotten that. One of the happiest times I spent with her recently was going through all the old photographs she had of her parents and herself as a child. She took you into her life fully and with such an unassuming generosity that you didn’t even realise what was being done – only that you were a happier person.

Neil was clearing things in our house recently and came across a photograph of Julia. I could hardly recognise her. She had much longer hair and was smoking. It made me realise how layered our friendship was – through many changes in her and me but still as strong. I don’t feel I have come to terms with the loss of Julia. I’d like to thank Rob, Viv and those who gave this opportunity to share reflections as I feel this collective remembering gives comfort and helps us celebrate Julia’s extraordinary spirit and her wonderful, wonderful gift for friendship and connecting with people.”

Viv – her son

“Thank you to speakers, Sara,  Fiona, Brigid, Ila for their words and thoughts…

Thank you to ALL for coming…

It is overwhelming to see so many of Julia’s good friends here and I’d like to thank you all on behalf of my mum and Rob for all the love and support that you have shown them over the last few months.

You are all our reminder  – if we needed one – that despite her modest life being cut short earlier than we had all hoped, Julia had a rich and fulfilling life surrounded by a great group of real friends both in Cambridge and across the world. You were her life and it was rich….

Of course, we were all lucky to know Julia too…   and we loved her.

I love the fact that, whilst it must have been a real struggle for her to bring me up on her own, my childhood was full of interesting and fun experiences, not least due to the interesting and fun people she chose as her friends along the way.

Some of you are here today and I’d like to thank you from both of us for those years.

My Mum was proudly unconventional.

I loved the way that, as a child, those things about my mum that I admit may have slightly embarrassed me, secretly made me very proud.   Like her brief career as a professional belly dancer employed at the Cambridge City Christmas Lights switch on, or the fact that the most often recounted aspect of my wedding was my Mum’s fire twirling display – how many of us can say this of our Mum?  She had offered to belly dance as well but I thought I had to draw the line somewhere..

I loved the way my mum could walk for miles along a pebble beach in the search for that one ellusive pretty stone to add to her rock collection.  I loved the fact she had a rock collection…….   and how she was surpisingly adept at reading maps..

I love the way that I can already recognise in my daughter some of the most beautiful things about my Mum.  Her modesty, her goodness and strength.  Her bravery,  Shown more than ever during her illness and the days we shared with her towards the end.

I loved the way that, hidden far, far at the back of a shelf behind the old physics books, granchildren’s drawings, papers and dubious ornaments that I had given her as a child, lay a book entitled “how to manage your clutter”, expectantly (and perhaps rather optimistically) waiting to be read.

She did read alot though – when she wasn’t rowing…  Sasha (my wife) notes that she was probably one of the only people(supervisors included) who actually read and understood Sasha’s thesis.

I loved the fact that, throughout my life with her, I never heard her speak ill of anyone and how she saw only the good in most people.

My mum was indeed unique and I loved her…   for all these reasons..    and I know that you did too..”

I will now invite Helen Groves to sing us a song that she has chosen to lead us into the time of quiet reflection.

“Ash Grove”- Sung By Helen Groves

Down yonder green valley where streamlets meander
When twilight is fading I pensively rove.
Or at the bright noontide in solitude wander
Amid the dark shades of the lonely ash grove.
Twas there while the blackbird was cheerfully singing
I first met that dear one, the joy of my heart.
Around us for gladness the bluebells were ringing
Ah! then little thought I how soon we should part.

Still glows the bright sunshine o’er valley and mountain,
Still warbles the blackbird its note from the tree;
Still trembles the moonbeam on streamlet and fountain,
But what are the beauties of Nature to me?
With sorrow, deep sorrow, my bosom is laden,
All day I go mourning in search of my love!
Ye echoes! oh tell me, where is the sweet maiden?
She sleeps ‘neath the green turf down by the Ash Grove.

We have heard of some of the significant events in and qualities of Julia’s life. You will all have your own memories of her depending on your relationship to her and so now we will have a few moments for you to remember her in your own way, a time for personal reflection or prayer for those of you with a religious faith.

REFLECTION: – silent

“Afton Water”- Sung By Helen Groves

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes
Flow gently, I’ll sing thee a song in thy praise
My Mary’s asleep by thy murmuring stream
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream
Thou stock dove whose echo resounds through the glen
Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den
Thou green-crested lapwing, thy screaming forbear
I charge you, disturb not my slumbering fair

Julia will not be forgotten – she will live on in the memory of all those who knew her and in a physical sense through her son Viv and grandchildren Scarlet and Harvey. She will be remembered as a partner, daughter, mother, mother in law, grand mother, sister, aunt, cousin colleague and friend to many. I have been asked to thank all the district nurses and Dr Bakker who cared for Julia during her illness. Anyone wishing to make a donation in Julia’s memory to the Mary Wallace Foundation at Addenbrooke’s hospital can contribute to the funds of that charity as you leave here or later through the funeral director.

You are all invited to meet together for refreshments and to share memories after you leave here at The Free Press on Prospect Row.

This part of our ceremony is now drawing to a close and we shall walk to the graveside for Julia’s burial after the following words which have been chosen to offer us a positive way to respond to her death. It will be read for us by Sasha

“You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her and only that she’s gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she’d want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on”

(Proceed to graveside.)

BURIAL

We have been remembering with love and respect the life of Julia and recalling the very special person she has been to you all. “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose on earth; a time to be born and a time to die…” And so death has come to Julia, your friend and your loved one and the time has come to say ‘goodbye’ to her.

In committing her body to this special place in the ground, we do so with deep reverence for that body which during life housed a unique and much-loved personality. Here under the wide and open sky we lay her body to rest in the earth that nourished and sustained her during her lifetime and which regenerates all life.

LOWERING OF COFFIN and words of farewell

COMMITTAL

Julia –

As we commit your body to it’s final journey
We rejoice that you lived
We are glad that we saw your face
We took delight in your friendship
We treasure that we walked with you
We cherish the memory of your words,
Your achievements, your character.
With love we leave you in peace,
With respect we bid you farewell.

CELTIC BLESSING

read by Sarah

The peace of the running water to you
The peace of the flowing air to you
The peace of the quiet earth to you
The peace of the shining stars to you
And the love and care of all of us to you.

Julia will be part of this beautiful place for all time, through the warmth of Summer and the cold of Winter, through the freshness of Spring and the mellowness of Autumn, she will rest in peace. Should you return here as you most surely will, I hope that some positive memories of our ceremony for Julia and of her life will bring you some comfort in the years ahead.

Julia has touched all our lives to some degree and now we must go forward in our lives all the richer for that experience. Before we leave we will have a few moments for you to say your goodbyes in your own way.

(Place flowers/earth in grave).

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October 26th – Update

October 26, 2009

We can now confirm that Julia’s funeral will take place on Monday, November 2nd at 1.30 pm. It will be held at The Woodland Burial Ground, Barton, Cambridge. Further information about the Barton Woodland Burial Ground and directions can be found from the link below.

We are requesting that instead of flowers people make a donation to the Mary Wallace Foundation, where Julia was able to rest on her chemotherapy days in between appointments, she found this very helpful. For more information see the link below.

During the service there will be a time when anyone can add their own reflections, read something or have something read for them. If you wish to do so, you could let us know in advance.

After the service we would welcome everyone to gather at “The Free Press” (on the corner of Prospect Row and City Road) from 2.30 onwards. There is no car park at the pub but there is parking available off East Road, off Maids Causeway and at the Grafton Centre, all nearby.

Please pass on all this information to anyone who knew Julia whom we have not yet managed to contact.

http://www.wallacecancercare.org.uk/page2.html
http://www.arborytrust.org/barton.htm

October 21st – Update

October 21, 2009

Dear Friends

It is with great sadness that we need to let you know that Julia passed away at 5.30 this afternoon.

She passed away peacefully and comfortably with Rob, Sarah and Viv at her side.

We know that Julia wanted to thank you all for your love and support over the last weeks and months.

We will let you know details of any arrangements soon.

October 16th – update

October 16, 2009

Very tired now, please ring Rob all enquiries.

October 13th update

October 13, 2009

This is, I hope, a brief update of the last week or so.

I am fairly cheerful, but am quite a bit weaker, so sleeping a lot, but not doing emails etc so often.
The district nurses and GP(s) have been very supportive; e.g. GP Dr Bakker has been visiting as well as talking to me in phone calls.

I love to have visitors but talking, thinking, emailing etc., all leave me very tired later. Doctor said this can have quite a delay, so “overdoing” things a bit (e.g. outings etc) can contribute to tiredness and more sleeping over the next few days. This can be expected and all such efforts are still worth it for me. So please do keep making contact.

Love from Julia

October 6th A lighter note

October 6, 2009

There is a goblin downstairs in the kitchen who is producing a supply of wonderful veggie juices, usually a lurid green but tasty. And pink or purple smoothies, with several fruits, plain yoghurt, and milk. These also taste lovely.

I am also supplied with whatever food I can eat best, which keeps changing.

Among other things I am reading ‘A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius’ by David Eggars. This zips along and may it continue. Apparently it does sustain interest..

October 5th Clinic day news

October 5, 2009

I saw a doctor whom I have seen before, who likes to be called Kam. He also conferred with Dr McDermott, the consultant, whom I see most often.

No chemo after all because today’s blood tests showed my liver function is abnormal. It was OK 2 weeks ago, and GP had also observed recently that I did NOT appear to be jaundiced (e.g. yellow eyes).

So now I have an appointment to see Oncologists again in clinic in 2 weeks if they can get a CT scan within 10 days. I think this scan is a) to see if anything isvisible in the liver and b) to assess effectiveness of the chemo to date.

I have completed 5 of the planned 6 cycles of chemo. A CT scan would have been done in 3-4 weeks time as the last cycle came to an end, and they are bringing it forward.

Please let me know, perhaps by email if any of the above does not make sense.

October 4th Clinic day tomorrow

October 4, 2009

A quick update concerning the nerve block done on Fri 2nd. Oct

It is still too early to judge the effectiveness or otherwise of the nerve block, but either way I intend to push myself to get up more and use my muscles more as they have become rather weak lately.

Chemo

Tomorrow I go to Ontology clinic, as most Mondays, perhaps for chemo again after an extra week “off”. If so, this will be the first week of my last 3 weeks “on”, very likely to be followed by a longer time “off”, as I will have completed the planned 6 lunar months of chemo. There will be a new CT scan soon to help assess the effectiveness of the chemo so far.

Rachel and Matt have returned to Cambridge and they are coming with me to the clinic tomorrow as may still be a bit weedy. Rob plans to do some cleaning while I am out of the way, and will drop us off and pick us up.

Chat

Is this blog getting boring or what? I am not bored myself though! Plenty to read, emails to read and write, puzzles to do, games to play. And in between I doze off, although this can be averted by getting up and walking about – which I must do more often! I have had welcome visitors at a rate of about one or two a day, and phone calls too, plus emails. Thank you to all.

Meanwhile I have been trying unsuccessfully to make further progress on essential paperwork concerning finances etc., etc,. It has felt as if my energy levels were not up to it, but there may have an element of procrastination too. Today at last I have made a small positive step, which is intended to set the ball rolling after many weeks of no progress. Can’t say more about that in here, but I feel more optimistic about getting it done.

Don’t read next paragraph if needles scare you – or perhaps do!

On Monday I mentioned that I was to start on daily injections into tummy skin of anti-coagulant Clexane to stop DVT in left leg from getting bigger, and perhaps disperse it. Anyway the good news is that this injection is NO BIG DEAL, once over the hurdle of poking in the needle for the first time. It is so fine that you can hardly feel it, and then the injection itself has NOT STUNG, which can happen. I wonder if it is the same for insulin dependent diabetics including children who seem to have no trouble doing their own.

October 2nd 7pm Job done

October 2, 2009

Procedure accomplished. The doctor (Dr Nicholas Carroll) came to see us to ask me questions and to give us lots of clear information, and I signed the consent form. I was then wheeled into the recording room, while Rob waited for half an hour or so.

I can remember having the throat spray in the recording room, lying down on my left hand side, with the thing in my mouth to bite onto and keep mouth open. Sedative was then administered which Dr told me would make me very sleepy, and I remember nothing more until I woke up in the recovery room about 2 hours later, some time after it was all over.

The doctor then told us that he had succeeded in carrying out the procedure as planned.

I may post more information when I am up to it.

October 2nd Endoscopy nerve block procedure

October 2, 2009

This is clarify things as I may have mentioned this, but not clearly enough.

Very briefly, we are off to Addenbrookes hospital now for appointment at 2pm, for a procedure called

Coeliac Plexus Neurolysis (CPN)

using endoscopy with ultra sound probe to visualise the nerve plexus and, if so, to inject something containing alcohol (phenol?) to numb/kill the relevant branch of the nerve. This nerve is often impinged on by my kind of cancer.

This may or may not reduce at least some of pains I get, and over the next couple of weeks, if it appears to have worked, my pain killers will be reassessed and maybe reduced. But do not expect any other immediate news of this.

I will be under mild sedation for the procedure, so I may have rely on rob to take notes of what they tell me, and whether they were able to perform the nerve block or not.