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Sunday, 9 June 2013

we said 'goodbye'

I expect for some it may seem a little strange taking photo's at a funeral but when you are a family of many photographers it would seem the right thing to do. It is also a rare occasion to get us all together. So I wanted to share with you the highly emotional but very beautiful day that we shared for my Mothers funeral. The service in the morning took place at my Mothers church, we then gathered at one of her favourite places for lunch together with friends and family. This was at tea rooms down by a river estuary and dam. The sun shone and we shared memories together. After this my Mother was taken to Cornwall to be buried with my Father and Nana, her mother, at the church that they attended and where we were married. her Grandson's carried her to the graveside where my husband did the committal service. I cant explain just how beautiful a spot this is, a pretty little 15th century church surrounded by a small graveyard and open fields.
After this peaceful and emotional time we all went to Charlestown Harbour to eat supper together.
I couldn't have imagined just how perfect this day would be and am thankful to God for His presence and love.
My brother and I wrote the eulogy below, I will add at the bottom to explain the bit about my sister :)

One twin and our daughter, our eldest son and my sister, my sister and her family, Gilby and his second cousin.

 My sister, brother, myself and most of our families.

'Mum started life in 1928 as the last of 4 children christened Evelyn Myfanwy Griffiths and living in Swansea- her family suffered during the Depression with her elder brothers and father out of work at times. Mum lost her father through ill health when she was 11.

Having moved to Builth Wells with her mother (Nana) to escape the bombing they continued to live a Spartan life in a remote cottage without the mains services we enjoy today-

It was sometime in this period that a young Land Surveyor working for the Ordnance Survey arrived in the town with a team working on updating the maps of the area and Mum met the love of her life-

On the 12 June our parents would have been married for 60 years. They began their married life living in a caravan whilst travelling around the country for Dad’s work.

Mum kept detailed diaries of those early years, she loved the lifestyle, but it wasn’t always easy. No running water, fetching coal in a wheelbarrow, sometimes pushing it across fields of snow. Hand washing and drying their clothes and bedding, oil lamps because there was no electricity, bathing in a metal bath-tub after boiling pans of water.

Mum also wrote about the fun and laughter they had with their friends, sharing evenings in each others caravans, eating supper together, washing and setting each others hair and getting lifts in the Ordnance Survey vans to get their shopping.

Regular trips to the cinema, mum’s diaries record all the films that her and Dad went to see and which actors starred in them.

Both Lindsey and I started our lives in the caravan and whilst our parents were excited with their first house in Leighton Buzzard, mum also cried when she had to move out of the little caravan that she had loved so much.

 Mum didn’t get on too well with driving and we recall the regular family car journeys when mum was supposedly the map reader but required frequent stops for dad to point out yet again where we were on the map and yet again show her where we were supposed to be going-

Dad always seemed to know his way around and so I reckon he set mum up on the map reading for his own amusement.

However mum was an extremely good cook, homemaker and mother and they were often entertaining their many friends at home. We enjoyed good parents loving us whatever we were up to- good or bad-

Moving to Cornwall and life in Polgooth was perhaps their happiest times-

Of course when we lost Dad and Nana in 1981 in a car accident life changed for all of us but especially for Mum- it was a devastating time-

The highlight that soon afterwards lit up the darkness of this time for mum was the finding of her long lost daughter Margaret- or rather Margaret finding us!

The first Lindsey and I knew of it was a breathless excited mother on the other end of the phone announcing the news- not the normal kind of headline I hear when I switch on the evening’s spotlight!

This was soon followed by a trip into the depths of Wales to Newtown where we met Margaret, Dave and two lovely little girls Angharad and Non. What a great addition the Welsh arm of the family has been!!

Mum then moved from Polgooth to be closer to her family-

Mum enjoyed her time living in Buckland Monochorum- especially being part of the community here at St Andrew’s where she was so well looked after by Graham and the church family-

More latterly as Mum increasingly developed the symptoms of dementia she faced this challenge with her trademark determination, courage and humour, we often laughed together as we tried to have a sensible conversation.

It was then that some angels turned up initially just to clean through the house once a week, but soon developed into regular caring, looking after mum, her meals and medication four times a day. This enabled her to stay in her home much longer than otherwise would have been possible. We are so grateful to Barbara and her team for their care for mum-

It became more difficult when apparently having walked across the moors on a cold winter’s day Mum turned up in Yelverton having forgotten on the way how to get home-

Her last few weeks were spent in Mayflower House where, having developed Shingles she became more frail and weak, her last two days saw her family gathered around her. Mum peacefully passed away just before midnight on Ascension day and as Graham has reminded us it is the day when Jesus said ‘I go to prepare a place for you’

We firmly believe that mum is now in a better place where there is no suffering or sorrow-

As we look back we can see that Mum never recovered from the loss of her beloved Carl- but she drew her strength from her family and from God and that is where we will draw our strength from as we all come to terms with losing our dear Mum, Grandmother, Great Grandmother and friend.'

My sister was born to my Mother when she was only 19 and unmarried, this was in 1947 and at a time and place (Wales) when to bring up a child on her own was not acceptable.Margaret was adopted. Six years later my Mother met and married my Father. When Margaret's  adoptive mother died in 1984 she decided to trace her birth Mother and got a whole lot more than just a Mother :)


Chel C said...

I am so sorry to hear about your mother. It looks as though she left behind a happy, nurturing family which is testimony to her and she no doubt is thankful for this. Keep those memories alive of a wonderful and special lady. xx

Flying Blind... said...

What an amazing life well lived. I am sorry for all the pain you have been through, but living so long and so loved is what it is all about.

PS My goodness the genes are strong between the cousins!

Thank you for sharing x

Needled Mom said...

I was glad to read that it was such a perfect day for the event. I enjoyed reading your mom's life story. It is amazing to recall all that they experienced in their lives.

Just a little something from Judy said...

I found this post most interesting. I so enjoyed reading the story of your family, you mother and father and newly discovered sister. I can't imagine the joy that must have given your mother, and all of you. I liked the beautiful family picture and all the pictures. Thanks so much Lindsay, for giving us a look into you and your life.

What a special lady your mother was!

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

A most beautiful and loving tribute to your dear mother. I have so enjoyed reading about her life and seeing the photos of your family.

I noticed her maiden name... Griffiths. A few years back I did a lot of genealogy research and learned my mom had ancestors with the same last name. Margaret (b in 1866)daughter of David Griffith(s) (b abt 1823 in Caermarthenshire, S Wales) and Jeannette Thomas (b abt 1828 in Wales). They were miners and immigrated to Pennsylvania about 1850.

From what I have heard, both Griffith(s) and Thomas were common names.

Just a little something from Judy said...

I am so thankful that you shared this wonderful and so very interesting tribute to your dear mother. I appreciated the gift of being able to step into your lives for a few brief moments. What a lovely, giving lady your mother was!

The family pictures are so good and such treasures for you. Good byes are difficult. Thank you for sharing yours with us.

KaHolly said...

Very touching tribute. How lucky you have been to have such a wonderful mother and to have been united with your sister. I like the wicker casket very much. I lost my mum when she was only 52, 31 years ago. It's a painful experience. Please accept my belated condolences.