Violet Regan and the Case of the Missing Toilet Roll

by Gaz Regan · Sunday, May 14th, 2017 · Bar Banter, Blast from the Past

My Mum was dying of liver cancer in October, 2001, and I was staying with her at Stone Common, her fabulous open-plan house in the  Thornton end of Thornton-Cleveleys, a small seaside town on the Irish Sea, about 50 miles north of Welsh Wales.  And my Mum had a damned good sense of humour.

We were heading towards a time when Mum, Vi Regan by name, would move into a hospice for what turned out to be the last three weeks of her life, but she wasn’t there yet, and while she was still at home she was determined to make the best out of every last second she was here on God’s Green Earth.

“Make me a cup of tea, Gary, please?”

“Okay, Mum, I’ll be right there.”

“Oh, and bring me two Ritz crackers with a little bit of cheese spread, too, please, Gary.”

“Okay, Mum. Will do.”

“And Gary . . .”

“What, Mum?”

“HURRY UP!  I’m dying you know . . .”

Such was typical of the banter that passed between us during those final weeks, and one of her finest moments came when my cousin, Robert Higgins, drove over 300 miles from London to see her before she returned to spirit.

Robert wasn’t my blood cousin. He and his sister, Judith, were the children of Audrey, Mum’s childhood friend, and my Godmother, and we were brought up spending summer holidays at one another’s houses, or at the house of Ken Armstrong, my blood cousin. Audrey was always there to help during Vi’s final days, and I was so happy to see Robert when he went out of his way to go see her.

“Auntie Vi, I have a confession to make,” said Robert, as we all sat around the living room drinking tea and nibbling on Custard Creams and Jaffa Cakes.

“What’s that, Robert?” she asked.

“Well,” he sort of stuttered, “I was at your house when I was about 10 years old, and I knocked a roll of toilet paper into the toilet by accident.  I didn’t know what to do, so rather than telling you about it, I sneaked it out of the house and threw it away.”

Vi looked Robert dead in the eye. A stern look came across her face.

“I always wondered what had happened to that toilet roll,” she growled.

Such was the way in which Vi Regan made people at ease when they came to pay their last respects. She put a smile on everyone’s face. And the fabulous smile that Vi wore lives on in my heart, and in the heart of the hundreds of other lives she touched in her lifetime.

Thanks, Mum. I love you dearly.

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