My last palliative care job in London, I was privileged to care for a 94 year old Doctor. Her life began in Bogota at the British Embassy where her father was the UKs man there.

Her long life saw her a P.O.W in Bad Godesburg, after being rounded up in VICHY where she worked as a children’s doctor. Her recall of that time was adamant and angry. Told me some of life’s tragedies for individuals is being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As she aged her sight slowly diminished and when I meet her the vision in both eyes were reduced to little more than 15%. Didn’t stop her studying a spider with a magnifying glass.

An immediate bond was established between us and I spent a year being her prime carer with her pledging me, within a week of us knowing each other, that I was never to hospitalize her. That I never had to do and her dying was a peaceful and lovely conclusion for her and for me.

During my frequent discussions with her, stories from her incredible life I wish I had recorded, but almost every day she kept reiterating the most dangerous thing for the planet was the loss of our bio diversity and the inevitable collapse of life as we know it.

I felt then her words were already coming true.

The article below, 22 years on from Doctor Amalia Maude Brandon’s dying could have been written by her back then.




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5 responses to “Alarming.

  1. Angela Simmonds

    I remember meeting you and Maude when you brought her to dine twice a week at The Albert. I’ve just found a photo of the two of you, and the eulogy you wrote for her. What an amazing and beautiful lady!


    • Wow, gosh. I have been thinking a lot of the wonderful Doctor Amalia Maude Brandon lately. I have just re read the prologue I wrote for my book, Living with Dying, which my then editors asked for. After my many years as a palliative carer for young people it was a privilege to care for a wonderful woman of 94 whose whole life unfolded during the year I was with her.


      • Angela Simmonds

        I know you had a lovely relationship with her – reading the words you wrote brought tears to my eyes. Did you have your book published?


      • No, Penguin bought the rights but due to it being a day to day, hour by hour diary of my dear friend’s last 8 weeks, it was graphic, due to the severity of AIDS and the ravages on his body. They demanded changes after my first editor resigned. Then there was a request for me to speculate on Doctor Maude’s time with Coco Chanel as her personal doctor in the 1950s. I refused to speculate on the latter demands and my respect for Penquin, Australia was lost. The manuscript is back deposited in a bottom drawer somewhere.


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