21 September 2007


Thanks to fellow bloggers for their support in my time of loss. Much appreciated. Some of those comments spurred me on and helped me to deliver a eulogy that the vicar described as the best he had ever heard. I didn't want that. No personal praise. I was doing it for mum and for the congregation who had come to say goodbye to her - more than two hundred. I held my nerve, there beside the coffin bedecked with beautiful white lilies. My knees shook slightly and at one or two points my voice quavered but I held on to the task and did her proud.

Here are two of my farewell paragraphs:-

"As well as being “feisty” mum was also very kind. She would help anybody out and was a soft touch when tramps or gipsies called at our door or when she saw beggars in the street - she couldn’t walk on by. She gave generously to charities and was especially keen on the Salvation Army, the NSPCC and Oxfam. She always looked beyond her own garden gate to the world beyond.

She loved plants and where ever she travelled she was always taking cuttings and trying to propagate them. She knew the names of hundreds of plants and to tell you the truth it could be a bit irritating when you were in a park or garden centre with her as she reeled off Latin names. It was just one of her passions. She was also an avid reader and solver of crossword puzzles and even became obsessive about collecting those little labels that you get on bananas."

We drove on up to the East Riding Crematorium at Octon, along winding lanes past bulging dykes and ploughed fields where flocks of seagulls were already gathering to see out the winter. We followed the hearse at twenty five miles an hour. I saw a young rabbit recently killed in the road.

The CD gave us "The White Cliffs of Dover" as the curtain closed on mum's marvellous life - a life of love and goodness, of passion and participation, endeavour and energy. The last words of my eulogy back in the village church had been "May we cherish her memory". I felt privileged to deliver that speech so that mum's passing was not only marked by the hollow words of a God-addict vicar but also by the true words of one who really knew her and loved her. It was one of the finest things I have ever done or ever will do again.

East Riding Crematorium high on the Yorkshire Wolds


  1. Nice on YP. She would have been proud of you - we are!

  2. Thanks for posting some bits from the eulogy and for keeping us in the loop.

  3. Well done YP. I have to admire your ability to deliver a speech.

    It gets easier. Cliches aren't cliches for nothing, and "time's a great healer" is one of the truest cliches of all.

    She was lucky to have a son like you.

  4. Sounds like you gave her a good send off. Wherever she is now, she is probably saying, "That's my boy".

  5. Well done mister - I, and I am sure many others, appreciate you sharing such tender moments with us all.

    The Yorkshire Pudding done good.


  6. Anonymous1:43 am

    My sincerest condolences, YP, on the loss of your mother. Your eulogy was lovely and I am sure she would be very proud of you.

  7. Lovely stuff YP. Words from the heart of someone who knew and loved her.

    You must tell us about those little labels you get on bananas some other time. (!?!)

  8. Lovely, YP.
    Grief takes hold of you at the most unexpected moments but as Steve so rightly says, cliche though it is, time really is a great healer'.

  9. well done YP. In the spring time there are huge drifts of daffodils all along the roadside to the entrance. An amazing sight & way of remembrance too.

  10. You were so blessed in your choice of Mum.

  11. Anonymous8:43 pm

    I was simply looking for a good recipe for yorkshire pudding, thinking that it would remind me of my mom. Here I am having a good cry for your mum - I bet her pudding was the best.


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