It’s been a week since we said goodbye to my mother, and I’m coming to the end of a short period of rest and reflection in Madrid. I wanted to do three more things related to her passing. The first is to thank all those who via this site, or Facebook, or directly, sent their support in the days after Joyce died. It meant a lot, and whether you knew Joyce or not, it helped, to know people were thinking of her.
The second is to mention something I didn’t include in my Eulogy at the service – largely because I didn’t think I could have got through it. But It expressed a great deal about my mother.
On her last day, when she had almost nothing else left, a nurse was trying to get her to sip some water. I could see my mother moving her lips and I lent forward to hear what she was saying. It was “thank you”. Those were the last words I heard her say, and close to the last words she said in her life. When she was down to the last shreds of energy, she used it with grace and politeness, as she had done her whole life.
And the third is to include the poems that Lauren spoke at the funeral She followed me in the order, and I had difficulty getting through my part. Lauren not only delivered her first poem beautifully, she made everyone laugh with the second, and we finished the service uplifted by Joyce’s humour, as well as her grace and love of people.
Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep – Elizabeth Frye
1. John is my brother.
2. The picture at the top of this post is of my mother teaching me to swim in Penang, Malaya, where I was born, in around 1953.
3. The picture above, is of the view over Haworth moor from the cemetery where she wanted her ashes laid.