Monday, 27 August 2007

Funeral speech

We were offered a few short minutes to deliver some words during the funeral so I put together and presented this.

Our dearest Gwen

As we say our farewells
we remember the love and the selfless devotion you showed to your family and to your friends.

As a mother you've were an inspiration, a shining light of guidance,
who encouraged your children to pursue their dreams and aspirations.
As a companion and friend you were a comfort, with an openhearted enthusiasm for life, and generosity of spirit.

Gwen, ever prepared with a word of sage common sense.
Gwen, the socialite, an astute judge of character, for whom the warmth and companionship of those around meant everything.
Slow to anger, quick to empathize, your loyalty and compassion reached out to friends and family alike.
Gwen, bursting with spirit, sometimes eccentric, sometimes even scatterbrained
we loved you for it all.

You were a rock of support to all who have known you, the anchor of our family.
As you begin a new journey, the legacy of your life remains through your children and grandchildren, a precious legacy that will be preserved in our memories.

Spiritually you were always by the side of your loved ones no matter what. And still you remain by our sides now.

Thank you Gwen, for your grace. Thank you for your understanding, and for your insight.

Above all, thank you for your love.

Loss of my Mother

It seems those thundery late July skies were not celebrations, but omens of an awful tragedy.

My mother is gone.

An active, fit woman for her age, she went down with a stomach bug which felled her in three days. It was very sudden, very unexpected. No-one, least of all her doctor, thought it was a fatal illness, just a minor stomach upset. The official cause was septicemia brought on by gastroenteritis.

My father called me with the news and I caught the earliest flight back to the UK on 5th August. The last few weeks have been spent in Lichfield, organizing the funeral, looking after my father and coming to terms with the loss. I returned to Japan last Friday.

I'm still very numb, and very brittle. I cannot understand why I've been unable to cry. My father and sister are in pieces, but I've been locking it all inside. It was too sudden and unexpected, we all thought she had a good few more years in her.

I was very close to my mum, even though I've lived the other side of the world for so long now. We shared the same character, of her three children I'm definitely the most like her in looks and personality. Perhaps being based the other side of the world for so long has buffered me to a degree, I always felt she was here with me in spirit in Japan, so to a point I'm more used to the idea of her not being around. My mind has created a buffer zone, a state of suspended disbelief, as if events are seen and understood, but not truly believed. Everything seems to have enacted out like watching a film. The fact that I'll never see her again is a truth that's only now beginning to really sink in.