Friday, 30 October 2015

A True Celebration!

I feel I need to record here what an amazing day we had yesterday with our family and Mum's friends down in Essex.  If you'd rather not read all about our celebration of Mum's life then please do skip past and I'll be back to tales of travels and creativity soon.  I just need to record it here as part of my blog before I forget the details.  I don't mean to be maudlin just recording a special day.  Please do pass by if you want to.

My DH and I went down to Mum's hometown of Canvey Island this week so that her many friends could say their goodbyes.  We always knew that mum had lots of friends but we were taken aback by the number of people who were able to come to her church yesterday. There must have been near on 100 people, family, neighbours, church members, and friends from her innumerable clubs.  The vicar, Reverend David Tudor, led the most uplifting and joyous service, most of which had been devised by Mum in preparation for when such time came.  David made great play of how pleased he was to finally be able to relieve himself of the papers and photographs that Mum had left with him 9 years ago in readiness for the occasion. (All spoken in jest).  He had carefully stored even a photograph of herself that she had left with him in readiness!  What could have been such a sad event became a truly smileworthy and funny recollection of what made Jessie the person we all knew and love.  Her passion for looking beautiful for every occasion, everything matching, little hat on her head, matching jewellery, matching shoes.

The love of dressing up running over into fun nights with her ladies' club raising money for charity.




I didn't like to tell her that the 'wedding cake' dress pictured has been reincarnated into some stitchy projects by me when she asked about it recently ;-)  I know the witch is her becaue I recognise her hands and feet :-)

More glamorous dressing up for cruising with wonderful friends like the ZigZag Dance Factory who welcomed her with open arms and gave her such wonderful dancing holidays so late in her life.





 David talked about her love for gardening, including 'acquiring' cuttings and seeds from gardens she visited, no stately home garden was safe if she saw a seed she could rehome!  She had been a stalwart of church fundraising, baking cakes whenever required and I have fond memories of frenetic kitchen activity when friends were coming for Sunday tea, baking scones and cream horns and preparing trifle.  You may remember I made a quilt with her aprons which still bear the scars of Sunday morning baking before the days when Mum joined her Church community.


I have to admit I had not been looking forward to the memorial service but the whole church and David Tudor made it a wonderful family affair with great warmth and vitality and even messages from Mum to look forward and be strong.  I have to admit I am no longer a church-goer but St Nicholas Church and its family churches are very lucky to have David and his team to forge such a strong sense of love and community that can lift you up and wrap you in such comfort.  There were tears aplenty but lots of laughs and smiles too, testament to a very strong lady who I and my brother and our DH and DW are very proud to call Mum.  Even her flower club friends had gone to the effort of making two lovely floral displays to flank the altar.


I read on Facebook yesterday a quote that said that however much you think you have prepared yourself you are never ready to lose someone you love and this is so true.  We have all lost
very dear people, family and friends and it never gets any easier.  None of them are paragons of virtue, we are all flawed but we do our best and we all saw the best of Mum yesterday, the great joy and happiness that others brought to her and that she gave to others just by being Jessie.





She only got on this camel for the photo shot, she couldn't quite cope with the thought of riding it lol

Rest in Peace Mum and always in our hearts ♥ ♥ ♥



PS  I've been talking to my friend about yesterday and just wanted to add here that at the end of proceedings they played the Radetsky March by Strauss which Mum had requested.  Quite spontaneously the congregation started to clap in time to the music.  A perfect end to it all.


When you watch the video you will need to wait about a minute while Daniel Barenboim shakes hands with the individual members of the orchestra.  It's worth the wait!  I remember watching this concert with Mum last year.


16 comments:

Wendy said...

You have such wonderful memories of your mum, I am glad you got to see who much her friends in Essex thought of her. This is one more to add to your memory bank. XxX

Jackie said...

I think this what blogging is for..recording detailed memories for yourself sometimes. It will be lovely to read again in the future and makes you smile. What a superb tribute to your Mum. She seemed a wonderful lady.x

Peneller said...

What a lovely post Julie. Your Mum may not be around in body, but she will live on in your heart and mind and you will have some lovely memories from the day you spent celebrating her life. I didn't know her, but she certainly lived a full life and i'm sure she would want you to do the same. xxx

Joan Eastham said...

Julie your memories will sustain you through-out the sad times. What a lovely, happy celebration you all had in her home town! What an example of living to the full she has left you too. Lots of love Joan

Heather said...

What a beautiful occasion - it must have helped a little to cope with the grief at losing such a special person, and rekindled so many lovely memories. Thankyou for sharing it with us.

Lis Harwood said...

It sounds like a perfect celebration of a life "well lived" Julie. I think it reminds us all to make the most of every day, every moment. I am glad you have had such wonderful support and, more flippantly, and I can say this as an Essex girl, I hope you wore white stilettos for your visit to Canvey!! God bless.

Amanda said...

Lovely memories and why not use your blog to record it. She will always be here for you and I'm sure you will smile when you come back to re read it. Xxx

Corrine at sparkledaysstudio.com said...

Beautiful, beautiful tribute. Mom looked like a real "hot ticket" as they say round these parts. Fun loving and full of joy. You will remember her like this especially since you have all these great photos of her. That flower hat is the bomb. xox

Gail Pierce said...

I'm thrilled that it turned out to be a very good day for you, albeit a difficult one. lovely to see photos of her living life to the fullest! And it sure looks like she did that! xo

Robin Mac said...

I am so glad you used your blog to share with us the lovely memories of your Mum. She had some wonderful friends and family and you will love re-reading your blog in years to come.

Living to work - working to live said...

We lost my Dad this year after a downward slide into dementia. My mum had the foresight to book the last double slot at the crematorium so we weren't rushed, and to find a wonderful celebrant who just orchestrated the whole thing. We sang a rousing version of the Happy Wanderer with me conducting at the front ( he was a great walker). And I look back on the day very fondly. He would have raised an eyebrow at the unconventionality of it but would have approved. And one of his friends said it was the best funeral he'd ever been to.

So these positive celebrations are very important I think, especially if the person leaving us is a bit of a character! And your Mum looks like a lovely character.

So a lovely post and why not share with the world? She wasn't a celebrity, not famous, but she was your Mum and had a lot of friends.

So hip hooray for a lovely lady!

H x

imac said...

Great photos and a lovely post and lovely memories, well done my sweet DW
RIP Jessie.

Su said...

What lovely memories of your mum. I'm glad the day was a success and better than you thought it might be. X

Timaree said...

I finally got round to reading your post. It's a great post, not maudlin at all. It sounds like your mum was quite popular and had loads of friends! She got herself ready for this just as my dad did. It certainly helped us as I am sure it did you and your family. Thanks for sharing your celebration of your mum's life.

Emma said...

You've written 2 lovely posts about your mum, so lucky to have such comforting memories. I think a 'celebration of a life' is the best way to say goodbye, even though you'll miss them.

mrsnesbitt said...

Lovely Julie xxx 21 years since my mum passed - a quilt - what a lovely idea. Dx