Doris McKee

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My mother Doris passed away suddenly last week so I thought I’d pen a few thoughts. The over-riding thing I remember about Doris is her determination to do things her own way and sod the rules. The Doris I knew was completely unflappable, she played by her own rules whilst on this earth, she never worried much about what others thought of her.

The rules are that when you’re in your 80’s you should be settling down for a quieter life but not Doris (and Bob!), off they went to Australia to a wedding and of course there was a freak heatwave there and even the natives were falling to the ground with the heat but not Doris and Bob.

She spent a few weeks travelling around in the sweltering heat and then came back to a bitterly cold Ballymoney winter with frozen pipes burst in the home and the place a mess. I talked to her at the time and asked her if she was all right and she said ‘oh aye, sure, I’ve got Bob, that’s all that matters’ and it’s true, she had Bob by her side and that was the most important thing in her life.

Having a medical background I flew over here last week to make sure that she got through her operation and past the danger-zone of the weekend however instead of finding Doris comatosed in Intensive Care I found her sitting out watching X Factor on Saturday evening. This was 24 hrs after a major op.

She was bright and sparkly and completely on the ball.

The rules are that when you’re on ITU you’re meant to be really sick but as usual Doris played by her own rules. The rules also state that when you’re 88 and just past a major operation you’re meant to be a bit fuzzy – but not Doris, she was able to tell me my mobile number quick as a flash on Saturday evening – something even I have difficulty remembering..

On Thursday evening, the night before her op I had a quick chat in private with her, I told her that she wasn’t allowed to die, that it didn’t fit in with my timetable, that it wouldn’t be very convenient – I told her that perhaps…. PERHAPS when I’m 65 and retired and she’s 100 then PERHAPS it would be OK then…

She roared with laughter and said that she’ll go when the man upstairs says it time and that’s the end of it!

Our last chat was an interesting one, we were talking about church and religion and she was trying to get me to go to church (as usual), lots of talk about Jesus, God and heaven and I remember holding her hand and telling her that I tried to be good not because I wanted to get into heaven and not because I didn’t want to go to hell but because it’s the right thing to do, our motivation shouldn’t be the next world but trying to do our best for this world.. She looked at me and I knew she was OK with that and the subject wouldn’t come up again.

For 32,120 days Doris walked, strode, ran, swam, leaped, crawled and sometimes stumbled on this Earth. Not all of them days were good, some very hard, some were bad, some were a real struggle but in all the time I knew Doris I never saw her without a smile on her face.

And she told me that the last 2,258 days were the best because those where the days that she had been married to Bob.