Words from the ceremony

Both Sam and I have been asked by a few people to post our speeches from the funeral on the blog. I’ve also included just below the beginnings of my mums last blog that sadly she wasn’t able to finish.

Blog 47
“This is the last blog as I cannot type and breathing is hard. I cannot reply to your letters but I can read them.
The morphine is helping but it depresses my respiration, I am sleeping most of the time.

When I got the diagnosis I looked at the MND association and the bulbar MND life expectancy is from 6 months to 3 years . So I have had 3 years. I have learned so much about life and death.

I have endless warmth, love and empathy from my family and friends. Holding hands, massaging my feet and wise words. In life we partake in the material possessions race to have a bigger house , a faster car, luxury holidays and designer clothes but when you are dying family and friends are the most important and objects are

Sams speech

In 1960 my mum was born. Never shy of new experiences she grew fast. Leaving home at 17, my mum moved through squats, caves and the Iron curtain before coming to settle with a curly haired man she fancied in Liverpool.

I remember a conversation we had a couple of years ago wherein she said ‘I don’t want to become old, I just want to be a sage before I die’. We laughed, and I went on with my day. But those words stayed in my head. ‘She wants to be a sage…’

My mum didn’t want wealth, or any particular experiences, just wisdom. Why?

As I pondered this, I came to realize a lot about my mum. Throughout her life she worked to gain the tools to facilitate her passion. Helping others.

In her 20’s she forged a plan, which involved her returning to the North and abandoning her education thus far to enter a career in Occupational Therapy. Together with her patients she built an environment to feel safe in and overcome any limitations. A natural choice really as she never accepted any limitations on herself, even up to the very end.

She carried on passionately with this career until my dad passed so suddenly. With Joe and myself, generally good but often naughty kids, this was a difficult time. But if there was anyone who knew how to reconstruct in hard times it was my mum. For me, looking up to her during this time, she was nothing less than composed; planning new schools, a move across town and completing an MSc whilst working full time.

In the midst of all of this there was never a loss of maternal warmth and attention for those times when I’d drawn a scruffy picture or written a misspelt poem. She smiled broadly ever time we saw her, made time to read us books, (carrying on my dads legacy by reading us long walk to freedom) and took us to all our kids groups.

Through all of this, when many of us would have given up, she had the strength of character to grow in to a strong (but still small) woman relentlessly giving all she could to those around her. Throughout her passage through MND nothing changed. Other than the fact she learnt a lot of very real lessons about life and impermanence. Lessons that she so helpfully passed on to those around her in a way we could understand, with limitless patience in my case.

She died a sage, about that I have no doubt. Whether you believe in life after death or not, her lessons will undoubtedly stand the test of time and the love she left will fill us when we need it most for as long as we live.

I loved my mum when she was here, as I will love her forever, as a woman who cared and fought for what was right. A woman I am so proud to have known, never mind to have had as a mother.

Joes Speech

I remember waking up one morning as a young child, the seemingly endless feelings of warmth and comfort hanging in the air. I remember sunlight streaming through the windows, laying awake a while as I watched the curtains sway in the breeze and dust particles floating and moving in the rays of sun. Safe in the knowledge that my parents lay next door, I remember mum walking in and waking us up, saying come now honey, wake up it’s a wonderful sunny day outside, come one on sunshine lets get up” I remember me and sam giggling as we asked her why she calls us things like honey and sunshine when we’re not those things and we’re just little boys

A few years later I remember laying in bed, this time in the evening, I remember a feeling of fear as I lay awake after bed time, nervous of all of these strange noises I heard in our new house at Houghend avenue. I remember listening as closely as I can to my mum typing diligently downstairs, working on her MSc, a single parent now trying to keep us afloat. Only as I reflect on that memory does it bring to light how motivated she was, how selfless she was, sacrificing even her sleep now almost every night of the week to care and so lovingly look after and work hard for both me and sam. Its also a reflection on how devoted she was to her work, giving all that she could to the people that she had something so special to give to.

I remember just 10 days ago crying my eyes out to her as she breathed peacefully in bed, telling her how much I love her, how much she means to me and so many people around her, realising how she’d given me more then i’de ever imagined and thanking her for everything she’d done. Telling her how sorry I was for being so terrible as a teenager, telling her again how much I love her and how finally I was so happy for her, so happy that she’s soon to be free of all of her symptoms and that soon you’ll be able to dance once more.

My mum was a wonderful person, she was vivacious, selfless, strong willed and well directed. She went as confidently into life as she did into death. She will be greatly missed, and for any of us who feel we have a debt to pay, or a gap to fill, however big or small. The greatest way we can fill it, is with her teachings.

In her final blog, yet to be published due to it’s incompletion she talks of how we don’t appreciate our lives enough, we place too much emphasis on material things, fritter too much of our lives away in the expense, not always the gain of the people around us. It’s each other and our own real lives that are most important.

so even if it’s just opening your eyes to whats around you, look at the sky every now again, listen to the sounds of the street, the birds, the traffic, feel the breeze when it blows on your face or the coldness of the air and relish in it. Because it’s these things, little things that remind you that your alive and not just a character in your own internal monologue or in the future of that beautiful retirement home on the beach your yet to even see.

Maybe take a day out and make a collage of natural materials, and appreciate the beauty and intricacy of everything you use. You could let go and dance vivaciously and lovingly on a night out or a dance class or wherever. Spend a moment with your friends, a real moment and think about them, let the qualities of their voice resound in your ears and appreciate them. Meditate on the present moment or the ones you love, Appreciate your day and just have fun, take something beautiful from my mums life because it was her deepest of wishes that thats what she wanted to spread.

It’s in these things you can pay your respects, in these ways you can grieve and it’s in these ways you can connect with her. even too if it’s just that you want to cry, let yourself cry, feel the quality of your sadness and search deep in your heart and relish in it because this too is a part of your life. And this too can be a beautiful moment, you don’t need to give to many thoughts to what other people think, my mum never did.

I don’t know if my mum will forgive me for saying such a cheesy line, but with the passing of this northern star, at least to me feels like a super nova, I hope it does for you too. photo

If you would like to donate in Lindsay’s memory to help the Manchester Centre for Buddhist Meditation…

All donations will go towards adding an extension on the Manchester Centre for Buddhist Meditation – a loving and caring organisation that gave Lindsay so much support during her final stages of motor neurone disease.

If you would like to donate please go to:

http://www.samatha.org and contribute via their donations page or donate directly to:



Sort Code : 40.52.40

Account Number: 00097249



Please find the updated schedule for Tuesday below:

10am – Arrival at Manchester Centre for Buddhist Meditation – 19-21 High Lane, Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, Manchester, M21 9DJ

10.30am – Monks arrive and Chant for 30 minutes

11am – Finger food while monks eat

12-2pm – Chanting/ Speeches/ Singing/ Samba Band

2.45pm – Burial at Southern Cemetery – 212 Barlow Moor Road, Manchester. M21 7GL

LINDSAY RIGBY – A Celebration of Life

11th November 2014


10am – Arrival at Manchester Centre for Buddhist Meditation – 19-21 High Lane, Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, Manchester, M21 9DJ

10.30amMonks arrive and Chant for 30 minutes

11pm – Finger food while the monks eat

12-2.30pm – Chanting followed by Speeches and Singing

3pm – Burial at Southern Cemetery – 212 Barlowmoor Road, Manchester, M21 7GL



There will be a few moments of silence and chanting during the day. You are invited to take these opportunities to practice mindfulness/meditate. Lindsay, during the later stages of her life, felt she received huge benefits from the practice of meditation. It brought tranquillity amidst a storm. We will be meditating with a focus on lifting Lindsay up to a place of peace.

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga. It helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them.

Practising mindfulness can give people more insight into their emotions, boost their attention and concentration and improve relationships. It’s proven to help with stress, anxiety, depression and addictive behaviours, and can even have a positive effect on physical problems like hypertension, heart disease and chronic pain.

A Quick Guide to Mindfulness

1. Be aware of the sense of your own breathing. You don’t need to change the rate of your breath. Just feel the physical sensation of your breath entering and leaving the body. You can feel the breath in the nose, the throat, the chest or down in your belly. If possible, try and feel the breath in the belly as it’s more grounding and is more likely to make you feel relaxed.

2. When your mind wonders off into thoughts, bring your attention back. It is the nature of thoughts to take your attention away from whatever you want to focus on, and into thoughts about the past or future, worries or dreams. Don’t worry about it.
As soon as you realise that you’ve been thinking about something else, notice what you were thinking about, and gently guide your attention back to your breath. You don’t need to criticise yourself.

Contributions of incense, flowers and candles are welcomed but not necessary.

Blog 47

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 16.49.04

On Sunday 26th of October, Lindsay’s journey through MND met with another hurdle, this time higher and harder to overcome. With her body so thin and her symptoms so many, it wasn’t long before she realised she was at the beginning of the end of her journey through life.

Through the next few days loved ones arrived, and Lindsay remained strong in the face of it all, Monday came and passed, as did Tuesday and Wednesday, and just like all of the days of her life they passed with her love, regard and affection for all of those around her. On Thursday she told us she was ready to die, and shortly before slipping into a deeper sleep her final words were “I am really proud of you both” to both my brother and I.
As she breathed peacefully on her own bed, facing the trees and sky through her window, many of those close and dear to her had the chance to speak their final words and say goodbye. Words of love, gratitude and a beautiful sadness. For we all knew that even though we would miss her so dearly, there was a peace in her death. she would finally be free of her symptoms and leave the body that she so didn’t need anymore. Group singing and chanting, candles and beautiful flowers filled the room with a feeling of peace and adoration, a feeling that lifted your heart on entering the room.
As night fell and people went to bed, mum continued to breathe peacefully on her bed as her sons and their partners lay with her  and gave comfort through the night. The love in the room burned on.
Dawn came once more and so family again began to wake and arrive, her breathing slowed and as the day grew with music, meditation and tears of a deep affection. At 11.45 on the 31st of October, as both of her sons left the room, she passed away and was finally released from her worn out body, no longer able express such a soul.
 Her death was met with tears, singing and a group meditation to send her peacefully and lovingly on her way. The NorthernStar shooting home. A beautiful light that will continue to guide us.

Blog 46 – Wondrous Moments


I have been nervous walking since the terrible fall, I have a Zimmer frame so I can have a glimpse of old age but I have some entrancing moments from the last blog.I slept on the hammock all night under the stars. Joe lighted the garden with candles and he lay beside me all the night,it’s was wonderful and we shared our memories until we went to sleep,it was a magical night, I loved it!!!

We went to Silverdale with my sister Sue, we sat on the grass and watched the sunlight go down beneath the sea and we listened to a flock of dunlin. I am in peace there, no crowds and no major roads and no shops.

Silverdale is deep in my heart, there is sensational scenery. I have been there numerous times when I was healthy, we went to a limestone walk through the tangled woods called ‘fairy steps’, and went to quaint villages with chapels and unusual pubs and the spectacular, breathless sunsets over the sea. The coastline are pebbles and the tides are dramatic and when the sea is out the wading birds feed in the river and the calling is melodious and enchanting. They have original art, pottery and crafts studios, a Buddhist centre with meditation groups and a bird sanctuary.The villages are connected to train stations and local people are so friendly. If I hadn’t had MND I would retire there. Manchester is an hour drive and quicker on the train.

You should plan to go for a weekend or a full day and see the sunset in Silverdale and Arnside, go to the Woodhead Hotel it’s hidden so you have to ask a local and go on the train from Arnside over the estuary to Grange and visit the chocolate shop.

We went to Martin Mere on Saturday with Chris and saw the 33,000 pink footed geese… It was a sunny day and the mere has a heated wheelchair accessible hide and we could see the thousands of birds bobbing in the mere in the twilight, it was wondrous. Look at the three colours in the sky in the photograph.

We went to Chorlton Water Park with Joe, it was dusk and the delicate leaves were hanging the trees like baubles,and geese swooped over our heads they had a homing call. I also went to Delemere forest with Ruth at the weekend the scent from the pine trees and breeze and the sun and rain all together was gorgeous. I try to get wondrous moments between the pain and sleep.

Every day has a moment …but you have to look !!!
I can speak of my demise or my losses but it gets you into a negative frame of mind, it’s my choice about thoughts. When people tell you about your day it’s usually negative.

I could think about my pain as my morphine was increased as my shoulder was so intolerable or I could think about my loss when I can’t walk and I have to go the cinema in the wheelchair or my hunger when I see and smell food and I am silent but I want to shout.

Instead I can think the best moments, yesterday…..the cherry tree was beautiful …. Autumnal hues and the wind and rain lashing on the roof made me cosy. Alex lighted the candles when I came down, Cheryl my friend popped in, Ava loved the new walker and she had a smile, bouquets of flowers reflect the autumn, I watched film about Northern Soul which triggered memories from my teenager years.

You have beautiful moments every day ..tell them to others and they become real.

Blog 45- Make your foes friends

image image
It was Ruth birthday,she came from a weekend with her friends in the Lake District and she visited her mum and we went to Llanbedrog in the boathouse. The view was from the bedroom in the photograph. We went to Aberdaron, it was sunny day and Ruth walked on the beach and we went to community chapel. I wrote a message on a stone to my husband Tim, there were a pile of stones with messages and they put the stones in the sea every month.

We went to Oreil (art gallery) behind the boathouse I saw wonderful pictures of the sea by Ceri Auckland Davies and linocut by Ian Philips. When we got to our boathouse it was raining, Ruth built a fire and we watched a film, it was so cosy. The balcony was wonderful the sea was under my feet. When we went to sleep I heard the whooshing of the tide on the rocks. We went to Bodnant gardens on the way back, it was fresh air and i smelled autumn leaves, I love autumnal sunlight. MND has opened my eyes to the wondrous world we live in.

When we got back I had a terrible fall, on my head and my pelvis.I am nervous about walking so I sit on the couch most of the time. The district nurses.Ronnie and Claire they are stars***** I have a long wait about a year to see the community dentist and they had a word and the dentist came yesterday, he was so nice and treated my mouth !! McMillion nurse came and they respect my wishes to not prolong my MND. I think they understand the emotional pain alongside the physical pain.

I have been reflected on my life while I have time to contemplate. I thinking anger is a waste of energy, I get frustrated and angry with MND and take on people close to me,especially about food. I have been angry, frustrated and upset when people eat next to me and I can see the ingredients and smell the flavours and I can’t share the meal. I think it is itch my heart as I can’t eat, that’s not their fault it’s MND. I need to communicate and not get angry. People don’t understand as eating food is a social activity it’s unusual to can’t eat food.

When people fall out it mostly when they don’t understand the other’s viewpoint and anger obstructs communication.I haven’t made many adversaries in my life but I haven’t got on with specific people. I think when you oppose individuals,it’s deep in you emotional ‘blueprint’ and triggers are habitual. You want to defend yourself and you don’t recognise that there is another view on the issue.I think we have to get a sense of the battle, so many battles are trivial and it’s not worth the energy. Life is more important then scratchy itches with family and friends. So today approach a friend or family you have fallen out and communicate and get sense of the argument and communicate.

Blog 44 – Live Life !!!


It’s a beautiful Indian summer, I have been out and about living with MND . Ros and Pete take me for a walk in Cheshire, the leaves are turning to russet brown, burnt amber and ochre yellow. The squirrels are harvesting and the swallows are migrating. I crossed off an item on my bucket list by planting a hazel tree in the Chortlon Ees. It was a wonderful morning the sunshine was dappling the leaves and it was a cool chill and smelt the Indian balsam and autumn . We found a patch of heathland near a open field.

Afterwards Ros and I went to Dunham Massey to go the hospital wards, the treatment was rudimentary to cure gangrene, trench fever,amputation and shell shock . Joe,Alex and Ava joined us In the garden, we saw bright coloured cosmos, deep blue salvia dramatic red hot pokers and all shapes of dahlias. When I went with Ruth to the rose garden she pushed me to see the subtle colours and delicate scent, my favourite was the Wollerton Old Hall rose it was a glowing apricot colour and sweet fragrance and a compact bud like unfurling dove.

We went to the Congolese orchestra at the a Bridgewater hall it’s was marvellous , I didn’t know they were playing my favourite piece Sibuleus Findlandia. I was so excited, the choir was uplifting as they sung traditional songs and Beethoven , they were impressive and made me fill my eyes. There have no financial resources,they have ordinary jobs, they are so dedicated. They dressed in black as the custom in the UK but they usually have colourful dress that’s was a shame. At the end they has a standing ovation for exceeding performance.

Louise took me to Tatton Park and we went to the redwood trees and sweet chestnut and Japanese gardens. We strolled through the walled gardens and the vegetables we saw the massive purple artichokes flowers, bright red rhubarb and heavy juicy pears. Sadly the paths were gravelly and uneven it made my shoulder vibrate but it was a good day.

I am discharged from the respiratory clinic as I don’t want ventilation,that’s fair enough but I was discharged from the hospice. That was a shock as I thinking they would support me until I died. I am out of the area so I will be referred to the Macmillian nurses and the GP. My breathing is affected as I have raised carbon dioxide that’s why I have terrible hangovers in the morning …I haven’t had a sip of alcohol !!!! They prescribed morphine but it makes me tired.

I have MND for three years when my voice started to go, I have had a death sentence and no hope . The doctors can’t tell me when I will die so my kith and kin is a frozen chamber for three years. I am glad I will die soon and my relatives and friends can get on with their life and I will not suffer emotionally and physically. I have no regrets in my life and unfilled wishes. I have had 54 years,it’s a long life compared to the East Africans, two thousands have died of Ebola. We can’t rely on tomorrow so make a bucket list every month. It doesn’t have to spend money if I would write this list I would light a fire and sing into the night, I would knit a scarf for a friend.I would light candles instead of electricity for one night. I would make bread and butternut soup, I would pick wold flowers and put it on a grave, go for a walk in the woods, I would put cloves on a orange for Christmas and pick blackberries and make a crumble. Live life and don’t put events for tomorrow. Too many watch TV to distract from life every night.

Blog 43 – When the sun goes down …..


I am in Heysham with my sister Ros and her husband Alec, Paul and Pete I am watching the sunset over the water. The rays of the sun are gleaming like a road from the beach to the sun. There is dark, heavy clouds like MND as the sun goes down the fringes of the clouds light up like coals in a fire.I hope am alight when my body goes down! I love the light in late summer. I have a ruby red dahlia and the sun makes it glowing,incandescent hue. Thank you Molly and Mindi.

I have been ‘clearing my desk’ I realise I have too many objects, clothes,books and files from my life. I wish had done this years ago. Its bittersweet when I am chucking my memories in the black bin bags. Photographs of friends who have died or forgotten. Dissertations which I sweated and laboured for so many hours in the middle of night. Journal articles which is so specific …’family interventions with home treatment for psychosis’ , no one would read it now. Gifts from special friends or boyfriends who are tat to others. Clothes I can’t wear as I can’t do button and zips. DVD and Cd s which are online, technology has carried me on.

It’s so hard to clear my mess of my life as I can’t hold my head up and my knees are buckled and I fall if I don’t hold furniture. I am breathless and my heart is pounding to get sufficient oxygen. I get very tired now but I still living with MND, I went to a Thai temple in Lichfield last week with my friend Ken and my son Joe, to meet the monk who is chanting at my funeral. We talked via my iPad for over an hour, he told stories of the Buddha to my situation. He then chanted, he was so enchanting. He explained the funeral and blessed all of us, it was very important to me to meet him.

I am looking forward to go away in mid September with Ruth for her birthday beside the sea. Ruth is buying tickets for a Congolese orchestra in the Bridgewater Hall on September 11th … You should go, it’s brilliant !!! I want to go to Liverpool Biannual Art Festival and I want to go the WW wards at Dunham Massey. I have got a painting to frame and I have another picture to paint for Sam. I have rest days and listen to the radio while a doze and see Ava and the young ones go in and out. Soon the rest days rest will turn into normality every day. I have mentioned carers to the GP. I hoped I wouldn’t go down that road, I wished I would die before my hands are redundant … You use your hands for everything !!!! I have a clear mind and still stubborn and I can choose what I can accept.

Carry on with the ice bucket it’s raising thousands for MND research but before you do it talk about MND before you get drenched !!! Thank you for getting wet it makes a lot to me..you can see me and Ruth,Angie and Pete and lots of people who are joining in to make MND awareness on Facebook.