For those who enjoyed the 'Mum' stories. The closing chapter.

Started by Gyppo, December 21, 2017, 09:41:03 PM

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   I have to say today was one of the most joyous funerals I have ever attended.  Emotional, yes, solemn at a few points, but overall we were there to celebrate Mum's life, and we did.  Mum always said she wanted a 'going away party' and that is what we gave her.

   Some attended in full formal black and others were more colourfully attired because we told them it was their choice.  Likewise with flowers.  'But no Lilies.'  Mum hated Lilies

   There were enough flowers without it looking like a damned florist's shop.  All bright, and no damned Lilies.

   My two girls provided a square arrangement, mostly white with a purple ribbon bearing the words Grand Matriarch.

   Afterwards the flower arrangements went off to be rearranged and given to old ladies in nursing homes.   Apparently hospitals no longer encourage flowers.

   It was a full house, all forty seats in the chapel were taken up, plus three friends in wheelchairs and a few people standing at the back.  I'd reckoned on perhaps thirty, but a few more came out of the woodwork, plus a male nurse representing the Nursing Home.  "I don't turn out for all the funerals, but Paddy was a delight to talk to and easy to care for.'

   The non-religious ceremony was taken by a minister who had paid attention to what we told him and strung all the stuff together really well without it sounding like a cut and paste job.   (I know a good piece of writing when I see it.)   Anyone who didn't know would think he knew the family.

   The entrance music was Morning, from Grieg's Peer Gynt suite.  One of mum's favourite gentle tunes.  Dad used to tease her by calling it the Queer Bint Suite.

   The minister read a poem we chose.  Sis defaulted to me on this choice saying Mum had told her I knew which verse she wanted.  It took a while to track it down, but it summed up her spontaneous nature really well.  It's in the public domain, so I can quote it in full.

I meant to do my work today

I meant to do my work today -
but a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
and a butterfly flitted across the field,
and all the leaves were calling me..

And the wind went sighing over the land,
tossing the grasses to and fro,
and a rainbow held out its shining hand -
so what could I do but laugh and go?

By Richard Le Galliene

   Then the minister delivered the tribute, which was a beautifully crafted bit of work.

   Then I stood up, scorning the microphone and lectern, and told a 'Mum Story', complete with actions as well and saw people smiling and laughing.  I couldn't have done a solemn piece without choking, but this was Gyppo the performer, telling a favourite tale, and if there's an afterlife I bet Mum loved it.  (I'll share it with you elsewhere.)

   Then the two eldest Great Grandchildren did their bit.  The eldest delivered a message from Mum's Grandson and family living in Serbia, who couldn't make the journey, plus their own tales about what kind of Great Grandma she was.  Once again invoking smiles and some open laughter.

   Then Kizzimiah, my youngest, delivered a lovely speech with similar results.  She gave particular emphasis to Mum's 'Warrior Woman' status, saying it was a title she and her sister were proud to inherit and carry forward.

   A few people looked surprised at some of the stories, but still nodded as if to say, "That's the Paddy we knew."

   Then we had a few quiet minutes with Ase's Death, a beautiful tune despite the sombre name, also from Peer Gynt.

   Followed by the committal and the closing words.

   The departure music was Wagner's Ride of The Valkyries.  We took a few minutes to sit and listen, and feel the surprise from behind us as people who didn't know the piece realised what a boisterous tune it was, before Sis and I led them out.   Some spontaneous baton-less conducting was joyfully embraced!

   They could have played it a bit louder.  I could hear Mum, usually mindful of the neighbours, saying "Turn it up, and sod the neighbours for a few minutes."


   The wake was well attended, many more Mum stories were told.  It was a gathering she would have been proud of.

   We had a short rolling slide show on a laptop.  A couple of dozen pictures  There would have been a few more but when I  was scanning them onto the thumb drive last night I knocked the  scanner onto the floor and bent the connector.  I straightened it out but it got a bit fractious.  I thought it best to stop before something got seriously broken.

   But we had the best pictures already, Mum and Dad's wedding shot, Mum as a Forces Pin-Up,  Mum with her 'posse' long before groups of friends were called a posse, various shots with family, and her Women's Land Army and Timber Corps badge which arrived only a few years ago.  ("It's very nice, but they took their bloody time about it, didn't they?")

   Sis and I circulated, giving folks a guided tour of the slide show ;-)


This same piece will be on another website as well.  And there are still Mum stories to share. ;-)[/i]


Aw mate, what a lovely bon voyage to the Grand Matriarch. She would be sat next to your dad proud as punch  :-*

And I have to say you could not have picked a better exit tune for an amazing lady. X O X O
Don't take life too seriously, none of us get out of it alive

Spell Chick

Bon voyage, Great Matriarch. You will live on in our hearts.
Imperfect Reason My thoughts, such as they are.


What a wonderful tribute to the grand matriarch we all came to know through your beautifully crafted stories.

There will be many more Mum stories and her memory will always be a blessing to you.
Work - The eraser of the writing class


Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.
Arthur Ashe


Wow - a fitting send-off for sure :) I love the music choices!
"You want weapons? We're in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world!"
— The Doctor, Season 2, Episode 2

Cathy C

Goodbyes are always hard, but what a wonderful send-off. :-*
Novel: Where There's Smoke.

Short Story: A Killer Week Published by Bridge House


We did her proud.  It was the 'going away party' she asked for.  One of my Great Nieces referred to it as an 'after party', a description which I think is going to stay in the family vocabulary.

The local florist screwed up on a basket of flowers sent by my two female cousins.  The poor girls looked quite distraught when their carefully organised order wasn't there.  I gave them a hug and said it was okay, their presence was what really mattered.  Blood truly is thicker than water at times like this.

But arses were soundly kicked overnight by both them and the undertaker, and today I was woken by a man with a van and huge bunch of flowers, and a box of chocolates from the florist as an apology.  A little later in the day Sis had the same.  Each with a duplicate of the message we should have had on the day.

Apparently someone ticked the job off as being complete before it was truly finished, which is why my cousin got an email around 11PM the night before saying 'order confirmed' with the undertaker's address etc.

Sis and I think it's a reasonable apology under the circumstances.  Some things can't be put right, and an honest apology is all you can offer. 

I spoke with my cousin today over the phone and she sounded a little less forgiving.   She's a cheery soul, one of those people who sounds warm and friendly over the phone even when it's sad or serious.  But there was a subtle edge hidden beneath it when she spoke of the florist.

Great pair of girls.



About 10 years ago, a friend of mine lost her best friend, her mum. The church was booked, everything was in order and we were all sitting in the church with the undertaker having bought her mum in....not Priest.

He had forgotten  ::) ::)

He was very apologetic when he arrived an hour later but that was poor form.

Glad they acknowledged their mistake Gyp  :-*
Don't take life too seriously, none of us get out of it alive