I had written an eulogy and wasn't happy with it. So Tuesday night I just sat and wrote, and below the cut is what I came up with.
Yes, I managed to read it at the service, as well.
I don't expect you to read as it's long, but wanted to make sure that it was kept ... also, if any of you want to read, please do.
Different words to describe the same person, but when I started to think what I could say about her, I found it very hard.
She was an amazing lady with so many talents, yet was someone who felt that she was not really any good at anything.
For all of you who have read her Christmas cards over the years you will see her love of poetry, but not just her enjoyment of writing something for a special occasion, but also in remembering numerous poems, many of which she had learnt while she was at school.
She loved school life, and was very clever … At age 9 she took the scholarship for the local high school, and passed. During her time there, she was moved up a class as she was so clever, but sadly this meant she had a lot of teasing, and lost friends. When her mum was taken ill and she had to miss school for 2 months, she never really managed to return. Not that she moaned about her life, but she started work with local solicitors, as a legal clerk. A job she always looked back on with fondness.
During the 40’s and 50’s it was traditional to have nice soft furnishings. Mum embroidered chair backs, tablecloths, cushion covers, and anything else you could imagine. She learnt to crochet and to tatt, as well. Over the years she kept up the embroidery, learning cross-stich, and spent a lot of time knitting from very complex patterns. Anyone who goes round her house or mine will see signs of her skillful work everywhere.
As well as hand knitting she bought a machine for the simpler items, to speed up this basic work. For most of her life she made her own clothes, as well as Dad’s and ours. She also re-upholstered chairs, made curtains, and anything else that was needed. However her greatest privilege was when Claire, and later Brenda, asked her to make their wedding dresses.
As you can see she was a great housewife, and later mum. The house was clean; she baked and was there when we got in from school. Some years ago the spread at a Christmas or Birthday tea had to be seen to be believed. In the early 70’s she enhanced her skills by doing a cake decorating class, and certainly enjoyed the challenge.
As money was never great, she used to do all the decorating, and gardening. However it was never just a basic coat of paint, but using interesting colours and styles, as well as making extra flower beds for the many seedlings she grew. As we got older and more money was handy she did a couple of part time jobs. The first was as a pianist at a nursery school, and later she was a Tupperware dealer. These jobs meant she could be home when we were. When I started college she got a job in the jewellery department of a local departmental store, and managed to talk the personal manager into employing me on Saturdays as well.
Mum loved being with people. She grew up in a small village and the basic friendship of childhood was something she missed. She made friends with people of all ages and in many areas. Until she lost her sight she would keep in touch by letter, and then found the phone helped her out.
One thing mum never stopped doing was trying to learn. When I was a teen she had swimming and diving lessons. She learnt classical guitar and passed her grade 7, as she had done in the past with singing lessons. Some years later she managed a lifelong desire and had painting lessons. Yet again our house has many examples of her work around. As well as her crafts she adored jigsaws, and crosswords, so it was with great sadness that when she began to lose her sight a few years ago, these all had to be put aside.
Mum also loved seeing new places. Before mum and dad had a family they used to go abroad for their holidays, even visiting Yugoslavia the second year it was open to the west. In fact, on out last holiday 4 years ago we went to Corfu and over for a day to Albania.
As well as travel, she had a life-long love of animals. When a child her family had a cat, and also kept chickens. Then she chose the dogs, and Vicky, Scrappy, Perry, Misty and Jiffy all had a very special place in her heart.
She loved being part of history, and we grew up learning of her family’s heritage and stories. She remembered fondly a few specific historical events. On the 3rd September 1939, the whole family was late for Church so they could hear the announcement of World War 2. She had evacuees living with the family during the war, and remembers going to the next town to dance in the town square with her parents when peace was declared. Her biggest delight was a chance to hear The Glenn Miller band play at a local U.S.A. airdrome. Later she and Dad attended the coronation of our Queen; well they stood in the crowds, and have a blurred photo of the State Coach to prove it. And, yes, she did remember where she was when she heard that JFK had been shot.
She was a very proud Mum and Grandma. She loved her family and whatever we did she would talk about. Even when we threw her a shock such as my change of career, she talked and coped with us. Her ultimate desire was threefold. That we should work as hard as we could and that we were happy, but ultimately her greatest joy was when each of the 3 of us committed our lives to God. She was overjoyed when she knew that both her daughters-in-law shared her faith, and could honestly say that she had great joy at going to Andrew’s baptism a few years ago. Her own baptism was possible slightly different from others you may know. She was baptized under armed guard. One of the members of the Gospel Hall had Italian Prisoners of War working on his farm, and being Catholic they had never seen such a thing, so wanted to attend, thus the guard, not just to check mum didn't back out at the last minute.
Her faith was paramount in all she did. Before we were born she and dad had Bible College students living with them. She used to speak at many Women’s Meetings and would sing a solo at many services that Dad was taking.
When she was hospitalized for a month in January it was hard to see her so poorly, and even when home she had little energy. Over this final year, however she continued to be the person she always had been, someone who loved her family, wanted things done just right, and speaking to friends whenever possible. When I got the phonecall to say she had been taken into hospital it was hard to take in as only the previous day she and I had been shopping. However Mum had struggled this year, and was finding the increasing weakness and loss of sight hard to cope with. She is now at peace, in a new body, worshipping her Saviour, who had been the main focus during all her life.
I miss you mum, always will, but you have taught me so much, and I know one day we will meet again in Heaven. Thank you. I love you, Mum.
I will catch up with comments and update about the funeral, but also have loads of letters to write.
Thank you, again, for the love and support.