|Carol died just two hours after her 100th birthday
CAROL Welson fulfilled a lifelong wish by reaching her 100th birthday — but died just two hours after her special day ended.
The retired cafe owner, who had ignored doctors' orders to go into hospital because she wanted to be at home, woke shortly after midnight as she passed into her 100th year, had a drink and toasted the day.
Niece Ann Gay, 68, said: "It was like she knew it was her birthday.
"I was sat with her and in the middle of the night she opened her eyes and said 'straw'. She wanted to have a bit of water, which she had not been doing for a couple of days. She said 'cheers'. I looked at my watch and it was about two minutes past midnight. It was as though she knew it was her birthday, which was quite spooky. I sang Happy Birthday to her."
Ann said Carol was 'determined to reach 100'.
"She always wanted to be the first in the family to reach 100. She was very ill and it was thought she wouldn't last until her birthday. But she was determined to hold on. She died just two and a half hours after her hundredth birthday finished."
Carol was given lots of fuss on her centenary from family and staff and received her long awaited telegram from the queen. She had a homemade birthday cake and was given flowers.
Sad for the end of a life and the loss for the family, but a lovely story of a human life holding on until the time she wanted to go.
One of my extra duties, some years ago while working for a government department, held the title "Centenarian Officer" which sounds rather grand, but in reality, I was the person who would turn up at someones house on the afternoon before they turned 100 years old. I was supposed to give them some speech about "just checking all their needs are being looked after" etc, but when someone is almost 100 years old, they've been there, done it and worn the tee-shirt a thousand times so I thought they deserved honesty and told the truth instead:
"Hiya Mr/Mrs Whoever, I'm from X department, here's my ID card, the reason I'm here is because you're turning 100 tomorrow and the queen needs to make sure you are still with us before she sends the telegram"
I always got a laugh out of that, they totally understood, and I'd usually spend an hour or so listening to their stories over a cup of tea. A common theme from the many folk I met was they loved my honesty and "matter of factness" without the patronising tone of voice, and didn't like the way people treated them as if they should be protected from the truth like small children. I've never treated the really old folk like that, anyone who's lived nearly a century has knowledge and life experience I can only dream of. I absolutely loved that job and many old folk inspired me and made me laugh, or even gave me good advice for life.
I remember one old lady (who smoked and drank a couple of whisky's every day) telling me this:
"these silly young girls" (the staff at her care home) "keep telling me to stop smoking & drinking as it's bad for my health" "why don't they understand that I really don't care anymore, all my friends are dead and if I go after a double whisky, I'll be happier than those boring old buggers in the day room!"
I laughed so much at that and all I saw was a person my age trapped in the body of an old person. If you know someone who's still got their understanding and awareness in the mind, spend some time asking questions and listening to their stories, you will learn much more than just their answers.
RIP Carol Welson
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