Lady of Mystery


Girl of Destiny
In haven of mystery
Do not frown
For you'll go down in History!!

The above was written about my mother when she was about 22 years old, the caricature was drawn by her first husband. She is what many people aspire to be and few achieve - beautiful, witty, clever, gentle and kind. A rare combination of gifts. She has not had an easy life. The youngest of five children, the other four expected a puppy the Christmas she was born so their welcome was not enthusiastic. Her father was a master builder, a signwriter and accomplished artist. From her father she inherited her artistic flair, from her mother her gift for music and love of languages, from her maternal grandmother she inherited her skill for dress design. But the adversities she met throughout her life enabled her to develop her own very special sense of humour that meant even the darkest moments could be lightened with a laugh.
Her sense of love and duty to her family, her only daughter was the result of her first marriage, meant that many opportunities that came in her life were disdained if they would cause her to be apart from her daughter. From an intelligent and gentle child who was always the one to bring home the stray cats, she developed into an equally intelligent and gentle woman with a strong character. Unfortunately, instead of the six children she originally wanted in her own words 'I must have got confused', as she ended up with one daughter and four husbands. She divorced three and was widowed by her last in 1976. But whatever the circumstances of the divorce and the emotional stress she always found time for her daughter and her family.
In later life she became a 'second mother' to her only granddaughter and seemed to have a bottomless pool of love to give. Born in 1917 the turbulence in her private life was often exacerbated by world events. Widowed at 59 she came to live in the countryside, but never retired being an important cog in the family businesses, initially as part owner of a shop with her daughter, then working with her daughter and granddaughter (both journalists) on the publishing of a local magazine. She was accountant and distribution manager for the magazine until 1996 when it closed. Always wanting to keep active mentally and physically she went on computer courses and passed these in December 1998.
This beautiful, loving and feisty lady is now fighting another battle, this time for her life, she has cancer and is putting up a strong fight, as she says 'who will look after my girls if I'm not around'. She knows that at 81 she has a tough time ahead, but in her own words, 'We've all got to go at some time, but it doesn't mean we can't object to the timing'. And object she will, she has the spirit and emotional energy to fight as long as is possible, and when it comes time to stop fighting it will not be because she is throwing in the towel, it will be because she has decided to retire with dignity.
We, her daughter and granddaughter, love her dearly. At the moment we are backing her every way we can in her fight and we know that we are in for a time of deep pain and desolation when she leaves us, but we are resolved that we will go on, there will be a future, to think that our lives will end with her would be a betrayal of the investment of love and time she has given each of us.

Sadly Barbara lost her fight on June 24, 1999 at 9.00am.
Barbara Kathleen Clare Daniels, nee Bristow, born December 27, 1917 at 6am, died June 24, 1999 at 9.00am. This brave and loving lady lived life. The youngest of five children she will be much missed by her daughter and granddaughter who knew her as 'Barbie', her surviving brother and sister to whom she will always be the young 'Billie' of their childhood, and her many friends of all ages from eight to eighty. Her humourous and fun loving personality, with her charm and wit attracted people of all ages to her and even in her last days in hospital this did not desert her and she made friends with nurses and other patients.
The short poem at the top of the page was written by an English Lord who was smitten by her charms. The caricature was drawn by her first husband, a professional artist who painted a portrait of the then Princess Elizabeth which was exhibited in the Edinburgh Exhibition and is now owned by the Queen Mother. After the break up of her first marriage Barbara devoted most of her energies to her daughter, a Scots lord wished to marry her, but she turned him down. She married for a second time, again unhappily, and her third choice was also unfortunate. In 1971 she married for the fourth time to George Daniels MBE (Danny), a design engineer who had helped design the first UK penicillin plant. She had known Danny for many years, he was godfather to her daughter, he died in 1976. Barbara was a talented lady able to dressmake, embroider and do oil painting, she could do anything she turned her hand to from decorating to gardening. She gave up work in 1996 when the family company was closed and not wishing to be bored took up computer courses in 1998 which she passed and earlier this year bought herself a computer. She was a loving mother and grandmother and loyal friend. Her sense of fun never deserted her, she had a very high sense of integrity which guided all her actions throughout her life, but this never made her judgemental of others and anyone who gained Barbara's love and respect knew that it was for life.
She will be sadly missed by all who knew her.

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