So let me be brief…
On the 29th of November 2017, my amazing Mum died peacefully at home. On the 12th December 2017, we said goodbye & celebrated her life.
On that hardest of days, I had the almost overwhelming privilege of standing in front of her Family & Friends to speak about her. Afterwards, I was told what seemed like too many times that what I had said was “perfect”, “well done, you made that look easy” or “you did your mum proud”
Some suggested I share it or send it to them… so after consideration, I am going post those words below & unedited.
*If I have mentioned you by name & you are uncomfortable with this, please don’t hesitate to contact me & I will happily remove the reference to you.*
*Walk Through The Pain*
“My Heart was Broken. You saw it. You Claimed it…You Touched it… I’ll thank him for His Work & Your Birth…”
- Firstly, thank you all for coming here today – sharing in this Celebration & Farewell to our Mum.
- Secondly, you have already heard today how she touched so many lives in her short, but full almost 67 years of walking the streets of her world. I could stand here & tell you stories about our mum, memories or childhood remembrances. But I’m sure everyone who met her, be that online or in day to day life will have a story to tell. As Lauren & Kiri-Louise over there know all too well, I’m currently slightly obsessed with a certain stage musical, one of the main themes that it raises & that resonates so loudly especially at this time is “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?” Our mum loved surrounding herself with people to hear them share their lives. So please when you go from here after saying Good-Bye to Christine I encourage you to share, to tell your stories.
- Thirdly, there should be some sentiment to say at this point, some magical phrase that would hopefully make this day & all that follow pass more easily. But having sat staring at several screens, over many days unsurprisingly there isn’t.
However, our Mum was a fan of reading books & probably in her time read most of them! Or at least that’s how it seemed! This influence filtered down the generations from this Alex to my Alexander & to his Sophie & Noah; as well everyone in between.
So with that in mind & a hat tip to Christine along the way, a quote or two:
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.”
“You think the dead we loved truly ever leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly in times of great trouble?”
The light in the darkness… enough said really that was our Mum. She brought light to many dark times just by being there & waiting for us to see that there was a way forward past our troubles. So today is not a dark troubled time, it is a bright yellow summer’s day with the bluest of skies. Those were her best days in many ways.
Today please if you can, take a moment to celebrate as well as commiserate.
Inevitably these past weeks have lead to reflection on our Mum’s life, influences & even the odd revelation! We sometimes forget what is important all too often…
At this point a little before the revelation, it’s important to me as well as my brothers that we touch on the influences.
Our Mum, particularly after 1959 upon returning from Canada to Scotland; was in her own words “brought up by committee.” Not a complaint in any way at all. Though I’m sure it was difficult at times to get permission to do certain things especially in her teenage years! The thing that shines through from her childhood is that she was surrounded by the love of family. Especially when that committee was made up of amongst others Aunties May & Isa. And Uncles John & Joe.
My mum was technically an only child but in reality throughout her childhood she had brothers & sisters that she clearly adored & who adored her. Auntie May brought her cousins Isobel, William, & Anne into her life. Auntie Isa left her Ann & Garry to grow up alongside.
Then in 1971, thanks to our Dad she gained 3 more brothers & 4 more sisters in Sally, Eleanor, Walter, Carol, Myra, Graham & Scott; along with their wives, husbands & in time so many cousins!
Because of this committee as well as her Brothers & Sisters, Family was at the centre of everything she did. Very obviously to us at least, Family wasn’t defined by biology. Our Mum was very clear through her example that family was made up of those who we cared for & loved. Be that if you shared DNA with a Taylor, a Thomson or none at all. No-one was 2nd best, all were equally loved if they wished to share in her Family.
The clearest example of that being Auntie Annabell & Uncle Michael along with their children, our 4 cousins. The bonds she created there are just as strong as any DNA.
If you were important to her Children, & in time her Grandchildren then you were her Son, Daughter, or Grandchild. Christine didn’t say it, it just was, no questions asked.
She was your Auntie, Mother, Grandmother or Great-Grandmother.
At the end of her life, beyond the biology, she had so many family that cared for her as deeply as she cared for them. So thanks to Kevin, Lauren, Wil, Lynsey, Claire, Matthew, Hannah & Sophie, for bringing our Mum, the joy of allowing her to call you Son, Daughter, Grandchild or Great-Grandchild.
Now at this point, My Family in the front here are beginning to shuffle in their seats & give me that stare…
I promised I wouldn’t go on forever. So let’s keep my promise.
Our Mum had a phrase she used infrequently but again showed by actions each & every day right up to the very end. My Brothers & I felt it was important that we acknowledge this as it was clearly her mantra whether she intended it to be or not.
“Walk Through The Pain”
Through all she did in life this was meant literally as well as a way of telling us all that things were never as bad as they seemed & that someone was always worse off. That in time the pain would subside even if it never completely left you. Our Mum rarely mentioned her physical pain that she lived with most of her life. I guess because it was as much a part of her character as what we all saw each & every day in all she said or did.
In the last few months of her life, this was what kept her going forward. The pain was acknowledged but then she would walk on through & she’d look to what’s next. She made sure what was to come was as easy for us as possible. For our Mum, her pain was irrelevant when compared to what was next for us as she left behind her pain. Christine was as human as the rest of us here, but through my biased eyes, she was a little less selfish than most. That’s the indelible mark she left on the world she walked through. I’d like to think everyone here & who met her in life no doubt knows what mark she left on them.
So quickly to the revelation, I hadn’t forgotten! For a moment indulge me, please.
It sneaked up on me as I wrote what I wanted to say today.
My Mum left me a lesson & I very briefly want to share it:
“Drive Yourself Forward…Always. Acknowledge the Past & Learn from it. Then Don’t Look Back & Drive Yourself Forward”
It’s what Christine did every day. Never stopping in her life, walking through pain & forever looking forward to the next thing.
Let us leave you with some final book quotes that many of us have been saying & thinking as we spent time with Christine in this last few weeks:
“…love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign… to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.”
“..To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”
So Mum here’s to your next great adventure free from life’s’ worries & I know that all your Family feel your Love & Protection for all our time walking the Streets of our lives .
Finally I promise! Christmas was our Mum’s favourite time of the year. Which was very obvious to anyone who visited her home in December especially on Christmas Day!
So for our Mum & from our Mum may I wish you all “A Merry Christmas”