Registering a death

There can’t be many places in the world where feelings can be so mixed as a Registry Office. Births, deaths and marriages – well isn’t that just the whole spectrum of life for you right there.

The Registry Office in Nevill Hall Hospital has seen it all many times over, including from our own family. Both my sister and I were born and had our births registered here. Death-wise, my father, grandmother, and now mother’s deaths were registered in the same little office. (Incidentally, the photo I chose for this post – with its host of golden daffodils – was actually taken by my Mum two years ago when she came to the hospital to register Dad’s death.)

On the bright side, few hospitals in Britain can be in such a beautiful setting. And, having requested a bilingual death certificate (English and Welsh), we were met by the very same Welsh-speaking deputy registrar as my mother had visited two years ago. He remembered her well, and also happened to know my maternal grandfather (Wales is a small place).

The hour we spent with the two registrars should have been exceedingly depressing. Ffion and I had come loaded with birth, marriage and death certificates; passports, driving licences and blue badges; and faced endless administrative questions to trawl through all the┬ániggly details. But it wasn’t depressing. Thanks to the warmth, compassion and humour shown by the two wonderful registrars, we actually had quite a pleasant meeting. We reminisced about my parents, we exchanged stories about community matters, and we generally had a smile and a giggle.

I’m thankful that my family lives in a small town where everyone knows each other, and has each other’s backs. It’s the small things. Every cloud…

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