In Memory of Mandy Lake
We asked the family and friends for memories of Mandy and these are just a few extracts from the selection of the letters we received.
“The late Mandy Lake well what can I say, this was someone very close to my heart, my friend, my soul mate, my confidante, my right arm. I knew Mandy for 23 years, Mandy’s youngest son and my eldest son were born 10 days apart, the first time I met Mandy was outside the Royal British Legion on woodhouse lane were we were having a cool drink in the summer, the babies were sat in there pushchairs and Mandy offered some rusk biscuits to my son who choked, we struggled getting him out of his pushchair, so she turned the whole thing upside down to stop him from choking and I knew then this was going to be the start of a very long relationship.
“We both started work as dinner ladies at Haveley Hay Junior School when the boys went to nursery, these were fun days. Mandy started complaining of a lot of backache and she went to the doctors on many occasions but was just given paracetamol until one morning she was in so much pain she went to the hospital and refused to move till they found out what was wrong with her, it was then she was told her kidneys were packing up and she had to be operated on straight away and go onto dialysis. Mandy kept getting poorly, was very yellow and taking at least 30 tablets a day. She was also told that this kidney failure was hereditary and at the time Mandy wanted her children to be tested but was told it was not possible until they were 21, this was a bit of a blow to her but she still kept going. Three times a day she would do her dialysis, still worked as a dinner lady and brought her family up and always a hot meal on the table every night. Most people would have given up by now but she carried on. Every Saturday was our Bingo night after which we would go for a drink at the British Legion for which Mandy used to save up her liquid allowance.
“As time passed Mandy went into hospital a few times with different problems all to do with her kidneys until a donor came along. A few days after the transplant operation Mandy looked like a new women, full of life, no more being restrictions on fluids, this was the start of a new time in Mandy’s life.
“Mandy went on holiday with her husband and children mainly to Skegness they loved it there, then she done what a lot of people would not of been able to cope with and took on a small child 8 months old called Steven. Over the years Mandy started to deteriorate, she always tried to stay focused and have something planned even if it was riding on the buses up to Manchester and back because Steven liked this.
“On the 5th December 2009, Mandy was taken into hospital with pains in her upper back and I went to visit her every other day, after I finished work 14th December, I popped into the hospital, Mandy said she had not slept too good, I told her I was unable to visit on the Monday as I was working overtime so would come on the Tuesday evening. That day never came, I had been into work and come home before going to the hospital, I received a phone call from Mandy’s eldest daughter, who told me I had better sit down. She told me Mandy had died and this felt like someone putting a knife into your chest and not being able to talk. I thought I was dreaming this cannot be happening, Mandy had been through so much and carried on, she had gone into hospital with a pain in her back, not to die. I got dressed and went straight to the hospital as I wanted to remember her as I seen her on the Sunday but knew deep down I had to see for myself that I would never see my soul mate again, this has got to be one of the hardest things I have had to do to date, it still feels like only yesterday, two years have now passed and I still think of her a lot, this was a piece of me that got lost but I know deep down she is still with me through the good times and the bad and will never forget my true friend, Mandy.”
Your soul mate, Joyce.
“What can I say about my Mum? Well she was my rock, my best friend, my whole world the most amazing person I know. If I can be half the woman she was I would be a very happy young lady. After mum passed away I was told by many of her friends that I was my mother’s daughter and that I was the strong one and it seems I have more in common with her than anyone; from the way I act and how I say things. Since mum died, a problem has been found with my kidneys and I’ve been going to Clinic E at the MRI for almost a year and if it wasn’t for this strong loving woman I wouldn’t have coped the way I have and I’m no longer scared of what might happen as I know about treatments and how the dialysis works and I know she’s with me every step of the way saying “chin up Kelly Belly”. I am who I am today because of my Mum.”
My mum was and still is, in my eyes and plenty of others, a fun loving caring passionate individual, as she had us children to look after and a husband as well as the normal day-to-day things and everyone she met and got to know she let in her life with open arms. She would help if she could and never judged anyone, she wasn’t perfect, as no one is, but through everything she did she was also battling a kidney problem, which she never showed, so to me she was an inspiration, as to do all of this and carry on as normal, made me and helped me have the determination and ambition I have now just like so many people who met her.”
“My mum, Mandy Lake, went through so much in her life, my mum was the best mum in the world and meant everything to me. I will never forget the day my mum got the phone call to say at there might be a kidney for her. It was about 5 o’clock in the morning and the phone rang and my dad answered it and shouted my mum. The next thing I heard was my mum shouting they think they got a kidney for me, it was about 2:30pm the next day and my Auntie Pat come in to my classroom and told me it was a match, the good news I had been waiting for and she was going to have the operation within the hour, I just broke down crying and wanted to go to her but I was made to go back into class.
“My dad took us to the hospital the next day to see her and she looked amazing she was sat up in a chair like nothing had happened and all was well. Then my mum found it difficult to walk and sometimes she would really struggle with getting out and about but that never stopped her from going out and enjoying herself and coming to my house every Sunday when me and my wife used to cook her a Sunday dinner and we used to have a laugh.
“My mum was an amazing woman you could talk to her with your problems she would listen and never judge and try and help you in every way possible. She was there for me a lot when I lost my own son at 36 weeks due to Patau’s Syndrome, I was a mess and my mum helped at this difficult time, she was my rock.
“We took a trip back to Leicester in October 2009 where my mum’s family lived and where she grew up, she enjoyed seeing her dad and all her old friends, she never looked so comfortable and so much at home her face glowed. Looking back now it was like she was saying her goodbyes.
“I had not seen my mum laugh so much as she was on 14 December 2009 when me and my wife went to see her in hospital, she laughed and joked all afternoon, as we were leaving that afternoon I gave her a kiss and said I will see you tomorrow for my birthday, well that day never came. It was about 4 o’clock and my dad phoned and said you better get up to the hospital right, I ran up to the ward and ran into her room and there was about 10 doctors in the room trying to revive my mum. After what seemed like a lifetime as a family we agreed she had suffered enough in her short life and it would be fair to let her go and be at peace. Not for not one moment did I think she was going to die.
“There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think of my mum and wish she was still here with me to share the good times and bad times and to be there when I needed someone to talk to and I will cherish and keep all the memories I have of my mum, because she wasn’t just a mum she was my friend and my listener. RIP Mum gone but never forgotten.”