Funerals are Strange Occasions… Well, I Think So.

mum

 

                                            My Mum

I haven’t been online much over the last few months; my mother had been on end of life care for over a year and she passed away peacefully three weeks ago. It’s been  a difficult time, both for her and for all the family. There have been many occasions when I’ve wished her at peace. Now she is.

I didn’t intend to write anything publicly about this. But something happened after she died that made me think and to remember a piece I wrote some years ago on motherhood, for an anthology.

I gave it the title I Am Three Mothers because, after much thought on what to write, I realised that although generally the same (and hopefully fair) in all the practical things and the everyday stuff of sharing attention, giving time, listening to each,  I was actually a different mum to each of my three children when they were young. My approach to each child differed  because they were all such diverse personalities.

With our eldest daughter I was more careful how I said things, knew I needed to give her time to tell me anything she was worried about (even though my instinct was to jump right in there…hmm…still is) She tended to try to sort things out for herself and would only come to me as a last resort. She was strong-willed, disliked authority and was loyal to both us as a family and her friends. This last, at times, tended to land her into trouble in school. She had (still has, a wonderful sense of humour – one, I like to believe, is inherited from my mother)

With our son I had a more laid-back relationship.  Much like his elder sister, he had a great sense of humour. But he took everything in his stride, had loads of friends, was popular with the teachers and, after the first year or so, enjoyed school. He loved sport and, as long as we got him to his football practice and games on time, didn’t complain much. More open about anything that worried him, nevertheless there were still times we needed to sit with him and wait for him to talk.

With our youngest daughter, his twin, it was a different matter. She put herself under so much pressure in everything she did, striving all the time for perfection that, sometimes, we had to say, ‘stop…enough… relax’. An anxious child, she needed a lot of reassurance and was very shy. She too loved sport and, for someone so quiet, was very competitive.At school she absorbed education like a sponge and loved to write stories. The family sense of humour, sometimes a little dark, burned brightly in her.

I’m glad to say that, whatever mistakes I made as a mother, they all three turned into great adults. We’re very proud of them. And it’s such fun watching them deal with parenthood!

Bear with me; I’m rambling on, I know. But this is leading somewhere…

Last week I was at my mother’s funeral. I say at because I felt it was a funeral I was a spectator to, not part of.

During the service I realised something strange. Being the eldest, and living nearer to Mum than me,  my sister had insisted on organising the whole thing. It was a Humanist service which was fine; my mother had no beliefs.

But what was odd, was that what my sister had written about Mum was totally unlike the mum I knew.

And I wonder if that is something all siblings share; a different view of the characters of their parents.

The mother my sister saw was a woman who liked poetry. So there were three poems in the service. I’ve never once seen my mother read poetry although she did like to misquote two lines from ‘ What is this life if, full of care…’

The mum I knew read and enjoyed what she herself called ‘trashy books.’ They weren’t, but she did love a romance and the odd ‘Northern-themed’ novels. (I’m always glad she was able to enjoy the first book of my trilogy – dementia had claimed her by the time the next two were published. She still managed a smiling grumble, though,telling me it had  taken me ‘long enough to get a book out there’) And she loved reading anything about the history of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Oh, and recipe books… she had dozens of recipe books and could pour over them for hours. I often challenged her to make something from them. She never did… it was a shared joke.

Mum had a beautiful singing voice in her younger days.  She and my father would sing duets together. Anybody remember Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson?  My parents knew all their songs. And so did my sister and I… I thought. The songs and singers chosen were not ones I remembered. And Mum loved brass bands! She’d have loved to have gone out to a rousing piece from a brass band. preferably the local band. She loved everything about the area and the house she’d live in for almost sixty years

Which brings me to the main gist of the service. No mention of Mum’s love of nature, of gardening, of walking.Nothing about Mum’s sense of humour; often rude, always hilarious. Telling a tale she had no compunction about swearing if it fitted the story. And her ability to mimic, together with her timing, was impeccable. She was smart, walking as upright in her later years as she had when in the ATS as a young woman, during the Second World War. She worked hard all her life;  as a winder in a cotton mill, later as a carer, sometimes as a cleaner. Throughout the talk there was no inkling of the proud Northern woman willing to turn her hand to any job as long as it paid. No mention of her as a loyal wife, even in difficult times.

Thinking about it on the way home I realised that my sister had seen none of what I’d known and I knew nothing of what she’d seen in Mum. And then I thought, perhaps as we were such dissimilar daughters to her, Mum became a different mother to each of us? Hence the completely opposite funeral to the one I would have arranged for her.

Is that the answer? A funeral is a public service. Are they all edited, eased into the acceptable, the correct way to be presented for public consumption? Because it reflects on those left behind? I don’t know.

Perhaps, unless we’ve had the foresight to set out the plan for our own funerals, this will  always be the case.

So I’d like it on record that, at my funeral,  I’d like Unforgettable by Nat King Cole (modest as always!), a reading of Jenny Joseph’s When I Am Old (yes, I do know it’s been performed to death but won’t that be appropriate?). I’d like anybody who wants to say anything…yes anything…about me to be able to…as long as it’s true, of course! And then I’d like the curtains closed on me to Swan Lake’s Dance of the Little Swans. (Because this was the first record bought for me by my favourite aunt when I was ten. And because, although as a child I dreamt of being a ballet dancer, the actual size and shape of me has since prevented it.)

Thank you for reading this. I do hope I haven’t offended (or, even worse, bored) anyone. I was tempted to put this under the category ‘Fantasy’ but thought better of it!

Chat again sometime.

I posted this blog about  Mum, last year: http://bit.ly/2fyF67M.

 

 

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100 thoughts on “Funerals are Strange Occasions… Well, I Think So.

  1. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    A poignant but important post from Judith Barrow. Whose mother sounds like a woman after my own heart… even swears a bit when telling a story!.. Do read Judith’s lovely post but also take to heart the message.. leave a note about how you would like your funeral to be conducted. Personally for me… cremation and then my ashes scattered at sea to the sounds of Creedance and Bad Moon Rising!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Condolences on the loss of your mother, Judith. As you say, she is now at peace, though that doesn’t make the loss any easier, no matter for how long it has been expected.
    My mother was a different mum to my sister than she was to me but as I only had one child I’ll never know if I’d be a different mum to my children.
    We were lucky with the minister who conducted my dad’s funeral. Although he never met dad he spent a lot of time with me and my sister listening to our stories and, unknown to us he also spoke to other people and some of the farmers in the area. At the service, he told our memories of dad, read a poem I’d written and talked about his love of nature. Then, he talked about how much he enjoyed his work and how respected he was, not least because of his remarkable achievement of 86,000 successful first-time inseminations. There was utter silence for a moment, then the farmers started to laugh and it rippled round the church. Dad had been an artificial inseminator of cattle!
    Sorry, didn’t mean to ramble on. I better go and plan my own funeral arrangements. I want laughter. Take care, Judith xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Mary. Not rambling at all; you made me chuckle as well. Your dad sounds to have been a lovely chap. The different mothering of children is something so many of my friends agree with – yet with hardly any resentment in most cases, which is good. Just an acceptance that that’s how it was/is.

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  3. So sorry for your loss. Your post however is enlightening and true. Call it intuition for lack of a better word but I have realized all that you said to be true. I have five siblings and each of us had a very different opinions about how we were raised. I know this to be true because years ago I asked each one of them to write for me a memory of growing up in our family and our parents. Each of us wrote something very different. I still have the letters and keep them safe in my files. It gave me a bit of insight when raising my own children.
    I have already spoken to my husband and children and told them my exact wishes upon my passing. Cremation and what I want done with the ashes. The were shocked and argumentative but at the end of the meeting I was assured that my wishes would be carried out. I also told them what to do with me if I became unable to care for myself, another shock to them but understood and promised. My last and final sentence to all of them including my husband.
    “I don’t want any one of you to have guilt feelings or regrets about losing me so treat me good while I can still enjoy it and I won’t have to haunt you until you die”. They all laughed because they know I would.
    Thank you for sharing this most sad but enlightening time in your life. I feel your mom was a wonderful and joyful person. May she RIP.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahaha- love it. Woman after my own heart. I’ve said the same thing, Patricia. As for the incapacity, I’ve campaigned for the last few years for the Dignity in Dying Bill which keeps being turned down by the UK Government. One day, someone will have the courage to let it go through to law. Thank you for dropping by and giving such a lovely long comment.Jx

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  4. What a lovely and personal tribute to your Mum Judith, how wonderful it is to have memories which are so individual to each of us. I’m sure many of us can relate to your thoughts and words. For my own part I have left a letter with all my preferences so that my family do not have to worry about (or squabble about) what to do with me when the time comes. I have chosen Andrea Bochelli to sing Time to say goodbye because I wont be there to say it myself.

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  5. Thank you for sharing from your heart, Judith. My siblings and I have a totally different viewpoint about our mother. We’ve often said, “are we talking about the same woman?” I haven’t given much thought about my own funeral because death isn’t final. For me, it’s about traveling (in the the blink of an eye) to a perfect world and finding perfect peace in the arms of Jesus where there’s no more pain, sickness, or worries. May your memories about your mum bring you much comfort, Judith. I found your post via kind-hearted, Sally Cronin. ❤️

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  6. I’m sorry to hear of your loss, but I know a bit about how you probably felt, after such a prolonged end of life stage. My mother just passed away two weeks ago, and I felt a profound relief that her suffering was over. It was time, and I was as prepared for it as is possible. She wanted no service at all, and refused to have one when my father passed away ten years ago. I honored her wishes, and part of me was relieved not to have to go through with a memorial. But after reading your post, I have to wonder what it would have been like. Very different from what you experienced, I’m sure, since I’m the last person left from my immediately family. Both parents gone, and my younger brother passed away 12 years ago. There would only have been my personal memories of what kind of mother she was.

    Of course, her grandchildren would see her very differently than I, and my cousins would, as well. But no one else would know her as a mother, and that seems sad. Your post brought home how different we each are in the eyes of our family and friends. We are colored by their perceptions of us, and by the people we “become” in their presence.

    A lovely post, Judith, and a great tribute to your mom, even if your memories weren’t the ones put forth at the funeral. A lovely picture, too. To me, she looks like a woman who had a sense of humor, standing there with her hand on her hip like she was waiting for whatever life would bring her way, and ready to make a joke about it, too.

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    • Marcia, dear Marcia – how eloquent you are. You always know just the right thing to say. We all show different sides of us to different people, yet there is always love. You honoured your mother’s wishes but the words you wanted to say were, like mine, perhaps, in your heart. And always will be. Talking with David and my daughters on the way home from the funeral made us realise that there was one thing we all shared in common… Mum’s sense of humour. I can still hear her laugh in my head; it helps me to push away those last awful months she had to endure. jx

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are very sweet, Judith. Oh, how I wish I always did know the right things to say. Sadly, like many of us, I often only think of them long after the moment to speak them has passed. But I figure as long as what I do end up saying is heartfelt and sincere, it will be received in the spirit it was meant.

        Truly, the picture does look like a woman with a ready sense of humor, and honestly, I often think that is the greatest attribute anyone can have. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, and at the absurdities of the world, we are surely doomed to a miserable existence. I’m guessing your mother taught all of you that lesson, no matter which side of herself she showed to each of her children. My heart is with you now, and I hope time will soon dull the memories of her last year, and sharpen all the others.

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  7. I’ve missed you, Judith. Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing your thoughts. You’ve been through so much with your Mum. I hope your memories bring you peace. You have a splendid philosophy on life. Many hugs to you. ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, Colleen, thank you. I’ve missed the online connections as well. It’s been so difficult time but writing this post has helped. It would have been Mum’s birthday this Sunday just gone. A sad but a ‘filled with memories’ day. Hopefully all will be back to normal before long. Thank you again. Jxx

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  8. What a thought-provoking post, sister. I don’t have siblings, so this was very enlightening for me. It really made me think in terms of how I “mother” both of my daughters. Do I parent them differently? Do I really see them as different, diverse individuals, or is it “one size fits all?” I do hope they feel it’s the former.
    Beautiful post, sister. Thank you for sharing your heart. I wish you peace and comfort in your time of loss.✨

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you , Taylor. It seems a long time since we were in touch. I appreciate you dropping by at this time. I’m sure your daughters have had the best love – and I’m sure, from what everyone says, they will remember it in different ways but never forget they were loved.x

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  9. So sorry for your loss, Judith. This post is thought provoking in that it makes me realize my mom was a different mother to each of my siblings and to me (five girls). I only had one child and have no way of know if I would have done likewise. I have noticed with my granddaughters, I DO share different sides of myself with each as she requires.
    Wonderful post. Have a peaceful day. ❤ ❤

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    • Writing this post gave me great peace in the end, Tess. I hesitated to write it as it felt too private. But I am touched by the response from so many. I used to wonder if I was right to respond to my children in different ways at different times. It seems that this is something we all do. I’m sure your granddaughters get the best from you, whichever side it is. Jx

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  10. Such a lovely post Judith – thank you. I have three sisters and a brother (all older then me) and we all have very different memories of our mum who died in 2009. We remember the same things, but we view them differently, and experienced them differently. It makes for some very interesting conversations! The actual funeral was a blur – something I just wanted to get through tbh and as I have no religious belief and Mum didn’t either, the religious aspects that were somehow a part of it offered no comfort – it’s those memories that do eventually bring that comfort and you’ve painted a beautiful picture of your mum here xx

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  11. In my family, death and bereavement have healed many wounds and built many bridges. My first encounter with a dissonance at a funeral was late in life and its impact on me inspired my first novel. At that funeral, too, two eulogies painted very differing pictures of the deceased.
    My thoughts are with you, sending you lots of light, hugs and love!
    C.x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the idea of receiving light, hugs and love, Christoph. How wonderful that your family have healed and grown together through funerals. I would have loved to have been allowed to say at the time what I have written here; Mum deserved so much more. Will be in touch soon.Jx

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  12. Because Ju and I had similar experiences with our parent’s funerals that at one point could have led to a bun fight in arguing parental music favourites we decided to make our own wishes known in advance and in writing. Yvonne was happy that they were the right choices for her mum and no-one else could disagree with the photocopied note in the order of service (Humanist).
    Now everyone may remember Ju in a different way, but no-one can deny the music was hers.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, David It is so important for each member of all families to know the last wishes of our loved ones. Throughout Mum’s funeral I felt so disconnected from her. It was only on the way home, when my husband and daughters shared their memories of Mum that we could all laugh an rejoice in her life. Jx

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  13. There is certainly food for thought in your very lovely tribute to your mum. I felt very much the same at my father-in-law’s funeral, that the man I was sitting quietly, listening about, wasn’t the one I knew. It was very much about his military career and war years and though he was one of those brave men who fought for us I felt there had been so much more beyond the war years that had defined him but was missed. After a few readings to a silent congregation it was over.
    Maybe we all ought to talk much more openly whilst our loved ones are alive rather than in those few awful days following a death in the family. A funeral should be a cherished get together of loved ones who perhaps all say their piece, not necessarily something formal or a reading but just something from the heart.
    I am put in the mind of part of Cilla Black’s funeral, which I saw on tv, when anecdotes about her fun-loving nature were told causing a great deal of tittering amongst the congregation. I think that is perhaps the way forward, an occasion to be remembered, inevitably with sadness but also as a fitting tribute by all concerned.
    Heartfelt condolences, Judith x

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right, Wendy; talking is so important. I was sad not to be allowed to speak at Mum’s funeral. Writing this post has helped so much. And comments such as yours are such a comfort. One friend of mine has said that funerals are never a celebration of the whole of the person to all who are present in the congregation. Mum’s sense of humour was one of the greatest things about her. Yet it was only afterwards that my own family shared happy memories of funny incidents and her tales. jx

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  14. You’ve neither bored nor offended me, Judith! I’ve been thinking recently about how we all see each other. Without going into why I’m only just getting to know my sister-in-law, nieces and nephew, I was fascinated when my eldest niece came to stay with us in Crete and described her mother as a bit of a recluse and that the two of them didn’t get on too well. Now that I’ve moved close to them on the Isle of Wight, nothing could be further from the truth. My sister-in-law has a healthy social life and if what I’ve experienced since I got here is them not getting on, then I’d like to ‘not get on’ with lots of people!. Wonderful post and much for thought. Perhaps there should as many funerals as there are children!

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  15. Lovely, loving post, Judith. Thank you. May your memories of your mother shine brightly and warm your spirit. You have honored her in a way that is uniquely yours. No one but you could have said what you wrote. Sending you light.

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  16. This must have been a dreadfully difficult post for you to write Judith. Isn’t it strange how there are some things we don’t know about our parents, facets of their characters they may show our siblings but not us. When my Dad died, his wishes were that we were all to wear bright colours to his funeral – no black!
    I had assumed my dad was a traditionalist and would want us all sombre, but no, he also chose a couple of tracks from ‘Phantom of the Opera’ which actually creeped me out a bit when those first few bars of the song played on the organ burst through the church, and it made a few of the older people (of which there were many) jump in surprise!
    I love it that your mum’s sense of humour has filtered down through the family, just as my dad’s did through ours.
    You will always have your own particular memories of your mum and the fact that they are different from your sister’s makes them even more special just between you two.
    xxxx

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  17. Ah I wish you had a chance to put forward the side of your mum you knew. I think that I would be like you and like everyone in the family close to me to have a chance to share their memories of me when I’m no longer here. She sounded fabulous. So sorry to hear about her passing but at least she is now at peace.

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  18. A beautiful post Judith. I’ve never really thought about whether siblings get a different version of their parents or not. I think sometimes when we have a loss we sort of reinvent people and give extra meaning to memories that allow us to feel closer to the person. Funerals are such strange impersonal things I really get your feeling of being a spectator. Sending you much love and be kind to yourself while you muddle through this difficult time xxxx

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  19. My condolences for your loss Judith. This piece about your wonderful mother is lovely and the point you make about being, as well as having, different mothers is one I haven’t thought of before but it is so true. You have some terrific memories, all of which I know will help you at this time. Hugs xx

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  20. A lovely tribute to your Mum, Judith and my thoughts are with you. It’s a compelling idea on mother/ sibling perspectives. I have to say I have never thought about it in this way before but it makes terrific sense. Sending you my love xx

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  21. I am glad I hopped over to read the full post and offer my condolences to you Judith. It is so satisfying that your mother passed away peacefully and I have been wishing the same for mine. Your reflections really resonate with me…I have always wondered why my mom is such a different person…why she loved her son more than me (and still does!) why she could yell at me and not others…we do talk about it and that has helped us being better parents.
    Many thanks for sharing this thought-provoking piece. We all tend to have our own perspective when we appreciate or dislike the persons in our life. Mothers are wonderful despite all their imperfections. Their memories always warm our hearts!

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    • All you say is so true. And thank you for reading and messaging me. It’s been a revelation that so many of us think so alike. Whatever our relationships are like with our mums I think we can all find happy times. At least I hope so. Thank you again. Judithx

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  22. Very perceptive and very true; my brother and I both spoke at mum’s funeral and both overlapped and both told of a different woman; i agree to pre planning too. I’ve told my family what music I want, that I want anyone to speak as long as it’s upbeat and positive and I’d like to be there in some capacity. As for how we have parented our children differently well that’s very true too; but I hope they are happy with the input we gave; time will no doubt tell!

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  23. I’m so very sorry to hear the news about your Mum, Judith. My thoughts are with you and your family.
    This is a beautifully written post and one that your Mum will be very proud of. I wrote some posts about my Mum when she passed away in September of last year. It really did help me come to terms with what had happened during those last few years of her life.
    I’m looking forward very much to seeing you at Llandeilo in a few weeks time. Until then, take care.
    Hugh
    xx

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  24. Sorry to hear about the passing of your, mum, Judith ~ and grateful she is at peace. The loss of a loved one is never easy. It’s wonderful to read all the supportive comments here. Must lighten your heart a little ❤

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    • Thank you, Teagan, you’re very kind. My appearance on social media is very erratic still. I am struggling a little at the moment, it would have been Mum’s birthday this week and with Christmas coming up. Still, many good memories. And people (both in ‘real’ and online life, including yourself) have been lovely. Life moves on and we all face these events. Thank you again Jx

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  25. I’m sorry for your loss, Judith. A sweet reflective post on the complexity of relationships, that little dance we step with each other that is like no other. It’s a mysterious and wondrous part of being human. I wish you comfort and peace as your mum continues her journey. ❤

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  26. What a lovely piece. I am so glad you wrote it, and alerted me to it, because I hadn’t seen it. Maybe you and your sister just wanted different things from the funeral; perhaps she was more keen on ‘public face’ than talking about the real woman, who knows…. I hope it helped you come to terms with it.

    Onwards and upwards, my dear xx

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  27. I am so sorry for the loss of your mother, Judith. My mother has Alzheimer’s and I miss her so much even though she’s still here. I think that I as the oldest child of three think of her differently than the way my sister (@TerryTyler4) and my brother do. Our mum had a beautiful singing voice. She sang in in the choir of St. Martin’s in the Fields, Trafalgar Square. May your mother rest in peace, and may you recollect her in peace.

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    • Thank you, Julia. You’re so kind. i think, with Alzeimers, as many say, you do lose the person twice. I think, since Mum died, of so many like me going through this. My thoughts go out to both you and Terry. I think the thing to hold on to, is that our mum’s had rich lives in their own way. love, Judith x

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  28. I so loved this post – I had a contentious relationship with my mom growing up and now that she’s ninety I realize how much alike we were. At my father ‘s memorial I realized the loner I thought I knew had a church full of people who loved him.

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  29. A thoughtful and poignant post. I hope writing it helped coming to terms with your sad loss. No matter how we think we are prepared it still hits hard. My condolences.

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  30. Firstly, I am sorry for the loss of your mother.

    What we remember of our parents can be quite different. Because they have different relationships with each of us. But many of us are very lucky in that we will never have a better supporter in life than our parent.

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  31. Sorry to hear about your mother’s passing, Judith. I know we’d briefly talked about it. Very interesting observation about it. When my Dad passed away it was a bit more of a standard affair. The priest did talk to several people and we chose the music. When we buried his ashes the local priest in the village where he was born the priest knew the family… We are all a collection of different people perhaps… Thinking of you and your family.

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  32. This has set me thinking for sure. I have been to some very impersonal ‘quick dispatch’ funerals including my aunt and godmother’s, so when her husband died and his funeral was left to me and my husband to organise it was a simple service, but for the first time in my life I got up and spoke at a funeral! Mum and aunty had married two best friends so I was able to speak about all four of them. …. We have three grown up children, all very different and you have set me wondering and I think we do treat them differently in more complex ways than oldest – strict, youngest gets away with everything, girls/ boys etc. My Mother is 90, still a lively mind and lives on the other side of the world (long story) – with my sister’s technical help she skypes me. Like the Queen, I can’t imagine her not being around!

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  33. It is a beautiful piece, Judith. The people around us took differently the way we express our love and ourselves and sometimes this differences creates gap despite the love and care we have for each other. I can relate with being three mothers to three different siblings, I have five!
    Thank you for sharing your post 🙂

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  34. I came back to find this post, because I didn’t read it the first time round…like your mum mine was at end of life, and had been hanging on with cancer, diabetes, dementia and more for several years…and both Dad and I were so tired. She passed away peacefully from pneumonia in hospital three days before Christmas. I’m now arranging her funeral, as Dad just can’t get his head around it.

    Your post is fascinating as I am about to write about her to speak at her funeral, none of my siblings want to, and I’m imagining how different we would all have seen her. At first I worried that I wouldn’t catch my sister’s mother, or my brothers’ mum, but now I appreciate that whatever I say will be my view, maybe not even Dad’s view, and that’s okay.

    I am a very different mum to each of my three children too, almost following the same pattern you have with yours, Judith, so I know our views will be different. And – after this experience I am definitely writing down what I want for my future! It’s made a deep impression on me to note what I truly don’t want and what I do.

    Thanks for this post xxx

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    • Oh, Lisa, this must have been so hard for you to write and I do appreciate you taking the time to read my post. Whatever you say will be personal to you and your mum. Your siblings will, indeed have their own view and as long as you all understand that it will be fine. I understand how tired and stressed you and your dad must be; it was the waiting for the end and knowing I would never get the mum back that I knew and loved that made me want her to go peacefully over those twelve months. And, yes, it is better to let your family know what you would like, at least then there will be no doubts and upsets afterwards. I will be thinking of you on Friday. Take care. Judith x

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  35. Sorry about your mother. I didn’t have much say in my father’s funeral, but at the time I was sort of happy not to have to think about it. I’m always planning my funeral and telling everyone about it so they get it right. I want a limestone tombstone for starters. 🙂

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