Canon David and Julie Titley write:
MAUREEN LAHIFF was an inspiring nurse, midwife, health visitor, nurse educator, and leader responsible for helping to set up one of the first degree courses for nurses.
It was for us, however, the unfortunate bond of losing a child which initially drew us together. In 2017, after the death of our daughter, Catherine, we were talking to Maureen one Sunday after our service, and discovered that both her children had died, David, aged 20, and Michael, aged 39. By then, we had started attending our local Compassionate Friends (TCF) support group, and Maureen, now also a widow, who had originally joined TCF in the 1990s after David’s death, asked if she could come along with us. Here began a wonderful friendship, which flourished in the relatively short time we knew her.
Never one to be phased by a challenge, during the first lockdown, at the age of 88, Maureen decided to use the time to write a book telling her life story. In this, which she self-published, she focused on writing about how Michael, her first-born, who had Down syndrome, had made a powerful, positive, lasting impression on all who knew him.
She believed that God, through his Holy Spirit, was at work in Michael’s life, and that this was an instrumental reason why Michael was able to be a source of joy, comfort, and unity between her husband, Kerry, and herself, friends, and family, especially when David died. Maureen also tells how God used Michael both to challenge and to help her in her personal Christian faith to deal with the pain, doubts, anger, and challenges that she was going through.
When her book was published last year, she got to grips with even more technology, and took part in several Zoom and radio interviews. Her book was reviewed in the medical and religious press, and was featured in the Church Times (Interview, 16 July 2021). Her book, Michael: A transforming presence, can be purchased at leftshoponline.co.uk.
We feel privileged to have known such a wonderful woman, whose life and faith inspired us and so many. Her friendship, wise words, and perspective on life, grief, and loss brought us and many others comfort and peace, and she will be sadly missed.
Maureen died peacefully at home in Mistley, Essex, in January, aged 90.