Thank you for all your messages of support. Brian passed away peacefully in my arms surrounded with close family at his bedside on July 15th at 21:32 here in England.
It feels so strange to write about Brian in the past tense, so please bear with me if I have made any mistakes along the way in my following notes.
Brian was diagnosed of a brain tumor at the end of January, just 2 days after we had returned from our long winter vacation in the Indian Ocean. He was just very tired and had to sleep most the time. We first thought it was jet-lag, but I also had noticed that he was having problem with his dexterity on the left hand side. A minor stroke has been ruled out by the doctors due to this man was running 7Km everyday and all his organs had been shown to be functioning well. MRI and CAT scans had indicated the worst type of brain tumor one can get — Glioblastoma grade 4. Brian had been under the best care of the oncology multi-disciplinary team of Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. It is the best in Europe and they are proud of it.
Brian had an amazing trip to Sweden and Finland for a week in May. With the help of Kennon humping our suitcases and pushing the wheelchair, we manged to travel from dot to dot, by cars, planes even trains and attended the Finlandia 2017 stamp exhibition in Tampere and he was really happy, he especially enjoyed eating Reindeer meat again!
The icing of the cake was that his Early Classic Haiti stamp collection won a Large Gold medal.
Brian came through the first phase of treatments like a hero for radiotherapy and chemotherapy on an accelerated program by taking both in just half the time but double in dose. He had very minimal side effects apart from being very tired and weak. The steroids for controlling the swelling around the tumor had taken a lot of his strength away from his legs as well. His oncologists and the Macmillan Cancer nurse have said that they have never, ever seen any patient having taken all these treatments and still able to fly away and travel like Brian did.
Each day, Brian would say “Another new morning, another new day!” and “I am still here and I am still smiling!”
Brian continued his routine 45 minute daily walk to keep fit and keep fighting. He kept saying to himself, “Fight, fight, fight! One step in front of the other, stopping is not an option!”. Yet his circuit was completed a bit slower each day – from running to fast walking, to just walking, then shuffling and finally in snail pace, but he kept going even up to the start of second phase of chemotherapy in early June. He also did a lot of walking during the trip at the exhibition hall in Tampere and on the Aaland Islands, a new countable destination for us. We now have traveled to 267 countries and territories. Our motto: “See this world before the next”!
The second phase of chemotherapy started three days after coming home from Finland on May 31st. This phase comprised 5 days of drugs each month on a 6 months cycle. Unfortunately, he did not take it so well this time. His brain tumor had grown with a lot of swelling around it. It had affected his whole wellbeing, including not wanting to eat or drink.
Brian was in hospital from June 7th to June 14th after his first five day course of the second phase of chemotherapy.
He was home for 4 days but I could no longer safely care for Brian with his increased care needs after having done it single-handedly on my own 24/7 for the five months since the end of January.
We’ve had very good carers and night nurse support coming to the house during that 4 days at home, but Brian was at a point that he needed more care in terms of 24/7 medication evaluation, adjustment and on hand physician attention.
From June 19th, Brian had been admitted to the symptoms control unit in the beautiful manor house that is now the Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice. Lots of beautiful flowers and water fountains were just outside our own suite through French doors. The staff, nurses and doctors had been most caring and kind.
Under the 24/7 “One to One” care at the Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall hospice, from that point on, I was supposed to step away and be a wife again, but I have found it hard to let go and still wanted to stay with Brian most of the day, I felt I “had to” make sure to feed him every meal so that he will eat more, etc… I just wanted to embrace every precious living moment with Brian.
Brian never had any pain during this illness. The brain tumor had not affected his thinking as such. He said “1844” when I asked him what was the year of the INCLINADO of Brazil! On the 4th of July, I told him that I had put the flag up. He then duly reminded me not to forget to take it down before sun down. His biggest problem had been the agitation which had developed about 5 weeks ago. It caused him to move non-stop, incessantly wanting to get up out of bed and then immediately lie down – this went on all day and all night long for the whole 5 weeks. It seemed as if his brain kept telling him the wrong messages due to the pressure on certain nerves.
The doctors at the hospice began to suspect that he was having pain but that his brain did not recognize it as such. His agitation could have been an expression of his pain. The only way to let him relax was to give him medication to sleep, but the doctors did not want to knock him out all the time so that he could stay awake during part of the day. Unfortunately, this non stop moving around up and down and in and out of bed continued through every waking moment for Brian. It was like sleep deprivation for him, he was exhausted – and I was exhausted.
What else could I possibly have sourced to help more?
Medical Marijuana (Cannabis Oil) for cancer in the USA, Spain or the Netherlands.
Brian has declined such option as it is still unlicensed and illegal in Great Britain.
I will always be so very proud of Brian’s achievements.
What an accolade to hear people allay any concerns about a philatelic item by simply exclaiming: “Moorhouse it”!
It was an honour for Brian and myself that Brian had earned his name “Moorhouse” as a verb in the philatelic world for his encyclopaedic knowledge and authority of authenticity in Latin American rare stamps and postal history. (Coined by two generations of Bolivia stamp collectors, Dr. Frank Lucas and his late father Franz Lucas.)
Fun but interesting:
Someone has written to me that all the stamps and covers he has purchased from Brian are still in their original pochettes with Brian’s unique price dot and code – therefore, they would have all been “Moorhoused” in their own right as a proof of authenticity!
I have also been told that from now on, any philatelic material that has been “Moorhoused” will probably go up in value!
Brian’s photographic memory and his very sharp eyes for details had given him the edge of becoming an expert in the field. His accumulated experience, passion and professionalism in philately, willingness to give his time and sharing his knowledge to everyone, his attitude in fairness to all plus having had handled such a vast amount of materials over the 45 years – have earned his unchallenged authority with great respects the world over. He often has said, “If I haven’t seen it – it has to be rare!” or “Show me another one”!
Respect, has to be earned –
Brian has done just that!
Brian had always taken great pride in me and had always been my loudest cheer-leader. He offered me unlimited freedom, support and confidence to reach far and aim high. I am forever grateful to Brian for his love and encouragement to realize my hobby turned professional in being a Classical Chinese Feng Shui Master. I have taken the insight and inspiration of Brian’s success by focusing on specializing my knowledge into a higher level of Feng Shui in Chinese metaphysics. Brian applauded my decision on daring to be different in taking my own knowledge and influence to thousands of other Feng Shui practitioners in the world. I teach “Day Selection” – to find an auspicious time for certain pursuits and events. Over the last dozen or more years, my teachings have been far reaching from Kazakhstan, Ukraine to Russia, from Europe to Asia, Polynesia and USA.
I stayed very mindful of always putting our own Stamp Business as our top priority in the great scheme of the matter.
It was a disappointment to us both that I have not been able to complete my book before Brian’s passing. The draft was finished just days before Brian became ill, but all I wanted was to be by Brian’s side to nurse him and just to be with him.
On a more positive note, the creation of my own “Luopan” – the Chinese Feng Shui Compasses have been successfully produced in November 2016 and Brian was over the moon with me!
They are truly beautiful and in total perfection. Brian even has signed the back of one of them to mark his own – even though he had no idea how to use it!
Singing – Brian has always loved my singing. He never failed to embarrass me by getting me to singing in awkward occasions! Having been a trained voice student some 40 year ago back in San Francisco did not render me to sing at an older age without continuous training! He didn’t care, as always, he would just be smiling proudly in a big broad grin from ear to ear and with his huge big eyes looking at me!
Two days before his passing at the hospice, with Tiyen playing the back ground guitar, I sang our favorite dancing song by Leonard Cohen, “Dance Me To The End Of Love”.
I miss him so….
Brian loved the idea that I will continue to run the stamp business within my ability, to travel and keep on collecting more countries; seeing the world, giving lectures in different countries when I can…and to finish writing my book!
Life has to go on…
Brian did not want to have a funeral. A dignified and peaceful civil service was held by just the close family members. The music of Brian’s favorite songs and artists has filled the crematorium graciously on Friday, the 28th July in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire U.K.
Brian’s ashes has been scattered in the natural woodland park behind our house where Brian had run his daily 7 to 9 kilometers circuit regularly for the last 35 years, also over the bluebell fields and by the river bank where we used to sit on a bench – just listen to our heartbeats and holding hands.
I have reserved some of his ashes to be scattered in the Yorkshire moorland area where he has come from, also some will be scattered in the San Francisco Bay, my old home – his home away from home.
It has been a great privilege to have met many of you over the last 31 years alongside Brian.
I plan on carrying on doing the business in a limited function, obviously… I am not able to offer any expert knowledge, but I am open to facilitate sending scans and arranging an odd visit to look through our stock here in Peterborough.
My biggest ambition yet is to host our booth at London 2020 on my own!
Please check his website, brianmoorhouse.com from time to time for news.
The truth of the matter is, I cannot bear the thought of giving up on our philatelic friends….. to many, I feel as if I have grown up with you half my life!
As for Brian’s extensive Latin America philatelic library – All being well and within reason, I am willing to assist for access to these references on-site but subject to my availability.
I am holding a “Celebration of Life” for Brian at the London Royal Philatelic Society on 2nd October 2017 from 1100 to 1400.
There will be a display of the above mentioned Haiti collection in 8 frames. Most importantly, we shall raise a glass and say “cheers” to the life of Brian, to a Latin American Rare Stamp and Postal History expert for the last 45 years – who didn’t speak Spanish!
(A charming side note: To speak Spanish – Brian used to make fun by putting an “o” at the end of some words to make them sound Spanish… Coff-o, Tenn-o, Mov-o, Lunch-o, Beaut-o, Happ-o, Sorr-o, Noch-o, Morn-o, Prom-o… and even Muy Good! My sisters Patricia, Esther and Tammy have been all Patricio, Estho and Tammo to him!)
Thank you for sending those cards and letters in beautiful words, heartfelt and meaningful emails, also the special tributes in the Memory Guestbook for Brian. All your positive observations toward Brian and I, as well as your endorsements to Brian’s accomplishments will become my main source of “motivation and comfort” for the next few months and, for the rest of my life.
Please do feel free to email me to the same “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org” anytime or call me after the end of this month at +44-1733-262333/ my mobile +44-777-8673888, I would be so pleased to speak to some of you.
I am collaborating with Corinphila in Switzerland to produce an Edition d’Or series publication in memory of Brian Moorhouse and featuring his latest Large Gold Medal collection from Finlandia, The Classic Stamps of Haiti – The 1881-87 “Liberty Head” Issues.
In addition, Brian has been invited to place the images of his Haiti collection on the Internet Museum of Philately from Genève, Switzerland. It is a site dedicated to best collections that can be preserved and accessed for time immemorial, anytime, anywhere; at least as long as the Internet survives. As for me, I have no words to tell you how I feel at this moment in time – ask me later, maybe!
I love baking my sourdough bread which Brian loved – he used to watch me doing the “final shaping” in the kitchen… but even sourdough bread did not interest me anymore, not now anyway!
I considered it as our blessings that I could care for and being with Brian on this heart-breaking 6 months journey from the start to the end. I would not have survived all these months in keeping on fighting along side Brian had it not been Brian’s incredible strength and positive attitude – It was him, who has been pulling me along. He was such an admirable courageous fighter – even down to his last breath!
A synergy as one. On more than one occasion, Brian had said and written to me: “You and only you can read the hieroglyphics engraved in my heart”…
I was amazed and heartened to have had found an unique way to communicate with the conscious but seemingly “Sleeping” Brian up to his dying hour. I was able to “read” his communication too!
We shared a perfect 31 years of unconditional love to each other – To share a quote from what Brian has written to me on Valentine’s Day this year – “A simple Twist of Fate brought us together…a dropped ring on the floor of an elevator on the other side of the world followed by being sat in adjoining seats on a flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo. Both million to 1 shots but how perfect! How precious! How magic! “Brian and I both agreed that our long marathon romance has been a truly memorable and wonderful fairy tale bliss! We have lived the life we chose and loved each other with such intense passion, which we only wished they could have continued longer.
Brian will be omnipresence wherever I am – always in my heart.
A heart-warming fact : My sister, Esther, has reminded me that apart form the odd traveling Brian and I have done independently over the 31 years; be it at home or away, Brian and I had always stayed together 24 hours a day! This would make up having spent an equivalent of 60 years together in comparison to an average couple! The thought of it has brought me a big smile.
Although Brian had always said he would forgive me instantly on anything –
I have asked for his forgiveness, if I have said hurtful things to him during this long passage of our married life.
In the hospice, we have quietly exchanged our vows and married again on 13th of July, I told him I love him forever and he moved his eye-lid.
Our 29th wedding anniversary was on the 23rd of July, just 8 days after Brian’s passing.
I miss him so….
We have none.
Brian is pain free and no longer suffering. His face and body seemed beautifully relaxed and peaceful in a smooth ivory color as he lay in his final state.
In closing –
Brian-cito: My precious tender loving darling husband, lover, protector, mentor, soulmate, business partner, listener, pain-soother, handyman, fun-loving friend, dancing partner, 150+ diving buddy, travel companion of 267 countries, an icon and legend who is respected by many from the four corners of the world, a Rolling Stones look-alike, a brave and courageous man to lean my head on, a creative problem solving “Google” of my life… my loudest cheer-leader, someone who has adored me and cherished me, most of all – spoiled me rotten and loves me forever.
Goodbye’s too good a word, babo – So I’ll just say fare thee well! (Bob Dylan)
As quoted by one of our dearest friends, Erich von Hungen, “Being at very least The Mick Jagger of Philately, you do have a heavy fan-base!”
Yes, after 45 years of devotion to philately, the legend and Rock Star of Philately has made his final bow to the final curtain.
Love, Eternal love,