A farewell in St Christopher’s

Mother died on Tuesday June 30. Her end, around 100 days from her diagnosis, was expected, but you cannot entirely prepare yourself for it: while there is life there is always a spark of hope, and of denying the end. The funeral was in the very charming church of St Christopher’s (designed 1902 by Charles Spooner), and not St Bartholomew’s which we expected; but they are part of the same parish (of which she had been for years a lay pastoral assistant), and it had a delightful, feminine, arts and crafts feel, reminiscent of a school hall, which was appropriate for mum had been a local teacher for many years, and held the congregation of over 200 people with ease.

 

The vicar, Norman Jones, and organist, Helen, were personal friends of hers, the readings by her godchildren, the address by me, flowers were sent on from a friend’s daughter’s wedding, one sister arranged the spray of blue and white flowers for the coffin, and the family wore blue cornflowers as buttonholes or corsages; the committal was at Guildford crematorium, prayers said by the 81 year old Rev Robin Roe, MC, and the wake at the Georgian House Hotel in Haslemere, where my mother was a member of the sports club.

 

My mother, who loved a party, would have loved the scene which met my sister on arrival “a sea of faces”, and so many kind messages from so many people, another sister had ordered great vases of sunflowers and made great collages of my mother’s life, from photographic model, to teacher, to mother and grandmother; so many full of smiles for those around her. One sister brought music, and when the crowds had subsided, we got the grand children dancing, as we knew she wanted dancing and laughter at her funeral.

 

In writing the address I was pleased to say so many celebratory things about her, but regretted not having let her know the things I admired about her more often when she was alive, and before she fell ill; as she herself was so good at giving out encouragement and praise. We have collected monies to give a bench in her memory to the school, and some planting; it’s a bench on which children can go and sit, to quietly signal to others that they need companions for a game, known as a friendship bench, which all feel very fitting.

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