Friday, June 10, 2011

After the funeral

Dear friends and fellow bloggers, thank you so much for your condolences, thoughts, love and support after the loss of my mother. I've been gone from here for over a month now, while I've been staying in Mum's house and slowly adjusting to not having her here anymore.

I thought you might like to see some photos of Mum's funeral. They were taken by Rodney Shrimpton, who is a professional photographer as well as a good friend and Reiki student of Mum's.

We chose an eco-casket for Mum, with the image of a stately tree on it.

The words on the top are from William Blake:

To see a world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower.

The autumn leaves were from Mum's garden.

My sister and I took turns reading the eulogy we had written together - we're smiling in these photos because there were some funny bits ...

It was a lovely funeral, with a lovely feeling in the room. It felt much fuller than it looked afterwards in the photos, I'm sure because of all the love and prayers and thoughts of people who couldn't be there in person.

After the funeral, a friend of my sister's, who was also a student of Mum's at the university here, stayed on for two nights. We went op shopping together (op shop is short for opportunity shop, though no-one ever calls them that - they are secondhand shops run by charities, what are called charity shops in the UK and thrift shops in the US (I think)). Bathurst has several op shops, as well as several other secondhand shops of varying priciness. I found a few nice bits and pieces which I might be able to use in my dolls houses:

Both I and my sister were exhausted after looking after Mum and then preparing for the funeral, and we both got flu afterwards. So I have been taking things very slowly, spending time resting, cuddling Mum's cats, reading, and so on, as well as doing necessary things like organising Mum's tax for the last 3 years and making a list of her investments for the solicitor. Oh, and I have put together another issue of the Dolls Houses Past and Present online magazine, thanks to all the members who sent articles! It was good to have something to focus on that wasn't too demanding (I was a bit less active as editor/researcher this time). So hopefully I'll be back on here a bit more from now on.


  1. Recibe todo mi cariño y pesar por la perdida de vuestra madre.
    La vida sigue y los que quedamos seguimos con ella, con lo bueno y lo malo que nos depare pero siempre con serenidad y optimismo.
    Un fuerte abrazo.

  2. Hola Rebecca, al leerte te siento mas tranquila y reconfortada, eso me alegra.
    Un fuerte abrazo.

  3. Thank you for sharing your mum's farewell with us. I think smiles at a funeral are a wonderful testament to happiness brought to family and friends during the life of the loved one who has passed. So nice to see.

    Good shopping skills too!

    I hope you are feeling better, I think it's pretty normal to get a flu after such difficult times. A hug to you.

  4. It's good to have you back Rebecca, I have missed you and thought about you a lot! It was very nice seeing the photos from the funeral, thank you for sharing! For me it was very interesting to see the coffin you chose. I believe we're far more traditional here, but it was very beautiful, especially with the leaves from your mother's garden on top.
    And so nice to see your smiling faces, I think a good funeral should have lot's of laughter.
    I hope you have both recovered from the flu, when you have been through so much, these things can take time. Well done that you found the energy to put together another great number of Dolls Houses Past and Present!

    And great op-shop finds! I think I can spot a window and lots of fences in the last photo.

  5. What a wonderful send off to whatever is beyond this mortal coil. The Blake is so appropriate. xoxo CM

  6. Muchas gracias, Marian y Rosamargarita :-)

  7. Hi Norma, thank you! Yes, there were smiles and laughs as well as tears - my sister and I were often in hysterics at things Mum said in a totally deadpan way, so it was very appropriate. - Not that we tried to repeat those, it was us saying things like a lot of Mum's staple meals when we were kids came from Peg Bracken's I Hate to Cook Book that had people laughing :-)

    I am starting to feel better now - it's been good to have time to grieve and get over the shock a bit too.

  8. Hi, diepuppenstubensammlerin, well, as you know, I've been uploading things to the net for the last month or so, just not very visible myself! But now I feel like posting and commenting again :-)

  9. Hello Pubdoll, yes, it's good to be back!

    I think there are many traditional funerals here, but as Mum had not been a member of a church for over 40 years, it wouldn't have been appropriate to have her funeral in a church. We were able to have it in a convention centre which is just helf a block away, and which has a lovely garden, so it was almost like being at home. We had a celebrant leading the service, who was excellent, and spoke about memories and love and friendship remaining for ever. We chose songs which Mum liked which also expressed our sadness - Turn, Turn, Turn; All Through the Night; the Eriskay Love Lilt; and the White Rose of Athens - and had two poems, one by William Blake (whom Mum wrote a thesis about, as well as teaching his poetry), and one of Mum's own poems, written after the death of an old friend. It was a very personal send off, and felt very right for her.
    Even funerals in churches here sometimes have secular songs and poetry (as with Diana's fuenral), so maybe we are less traditional in general.
    As for the coffin - the eco-caskets also came with wood finishes, so you could have one that looked exactly like a traditional wooden casket. We loved the one with the tree, as Mum loved her gardens, and also liked picking up beautiful leaves - everyone said it was so like her, so we were pleased :-)
    I'll email you a copy of the eulogy, if you like.

  10. Hi CM, thanks :-) Blake was very appropriate in many ways.

  11. Rebecca - What a lovely tribute to your Mum, I'm glad that you're doing better, and back on-line too!