Family’s strength and unity helps to deal with tragedy

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I was amazed by their strength – and by their solidarity

I’m now part of another family – the Kingstons – and although I’ve known them for 16 years and have always felt part of their family I was blown away by how they’ve dealt with a tragedy which has gripped the family – and the community – over the last few months.

My father-in-law Danny is one of eight brothers and sisters and Sue was one of the four sisters in the tight family.

She was diagnosed with cancer and fought as hard as she could until the news came this year that this was one fight she wouldn’t win. Sue used to be the landlady of the Railway pub in Cosham for years and if you’ve ever ventured into that pub you’ll know she was no pushover. ‘Strong as an ox’ is how I’d describe Sue and she was a huge part of the community.

Her funeral was yesterday at Portchester crematorium and the wake was at the BT Club in Cosham – to say Sue was a popular lady is putting it mildly; it was a true send-off for a legend.

In her final two weeks Sue had one major request – that her family be by her side when the time came and despite the family living all over the place they all stayed by her bedside, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, sleeping on the floor of her bedroom, on a vacant chair – anywhere that ensured they would be there for her when the time came.

I was amazed by their strength – by their solidarity to be there not just for Sue but for each other. It truly was inspiring.

My fondest memory of Sue was a few years ago when we were at a family party. All the Kingstons gathered like they always do to dance to UB40’s Kingston Town and naturally I didn’t join in – I wasn’t a Kingston then – but Sue came out to me and said ‘Oi, Cheryl you’re a Kingston now, get in there’ to which I obliged – you didn’t often say no to Sue.

Her passing is a tremendous loss and my heart goes out to her family; her husband, her daughter and son, her grandchildren and all the family, but it’s also a reminder of how fragile life is and how important it is to show the people you care about what they mean to you, so in true Kingston style, give your loved ones a good ol’ squeeze.