Finding Your Voice To Celebrate Your Loved One's Life


Sadly, my mum died in May this year, she was 76.  My dad phoned me and although it wasn't unexpected, the timing was and of course we can never time these things.  I'd desperately wanted to be there, or at least someone she loved be there, my dad was sick and hadn't been for a few days, nor my sister and I was back here in Australia, so she died alone in the nursing home after feistily refusing her breakfast that morning from the nurse.  I'm grateful she had a bed and care.  Many don't.

I'd been flat out and had no idea what to write and speak at the funeral, booking flights and all that needs to be organised, processing the reality of no longer seeing, hearing or hugging Mum.  I'd scribbled a few notes on the flight as I thought of them and finally got something down a couple of days before the funeral in a 2hr break from cleaning my dad's garage. 

The sound in the recording above is a bit in and out, it's not refined and wasn't meant to be.  I was exhausted, mid cleaning out my dad's garage of all Mum's belongings and this quick recording wasn't meant for public ears or eyes, but there's something about the essence of words that are spoken in the moment and that's what this captured for me and why I've eventually decided to share this and not re-record it.

Writing and speaking a eulogy for my mum at her funeral wasn't the easiest, but I'm very grateful I did it and was able to and my sister did a wonderful job of sharing the story of our last trip out all together, it was a Northern England kind of a day, lashing rain, eating fish and chips, squished in the car looking out to the beach and admiring the black clouds! 

I was told my speech gave people a greater understanding of who mum was (not just the woman behind closed doors with Agoraphobia and Depression) and THAT was my intention.  Mum was that and so much more.  The impact we have through our life can never just be measured by fame or wealth, it's the ripple effect from who we're being day to day that holds the fabric of our legacy.

People are always more than they seem and we never know the full impact we have on others or the legacy we're leaving by simply breathing and being true to who we are.

Find what brings you life, put your energy and attention there.  Advocate for what and who you can, find purpose amongst the pain and bring joy into this precious life we've been gifted. 


Dear Mum

I can’t do your life justice in these few words but I’ll try my best to let your voice be heard.

Thank you for choosing me to be one of your daughters.

You’ve been the best gift to me. 

We learn and grow through adversity.  

You showed me that, and taught me resiliency, optimism and trust. 

You taught me compassion and empathy, to take a leap when on the cusp.
Your wise words and presence for those suffering, opened my mind, you were warm and kind.

You’re Zany sense of humour gave us permission to be ourselves and live out of the box, like little elves. 

You led by example, being there for people from all walks of life, without judgement or negativity, you led with humanity, your heart runs through me and I honour those gifts.

You taught me what it means to live with pain and acceptance, fear and courage, to dream big and be practical.

You were the feisty one, speaking your mind, defending those who were less inclined to speak up. 

I stand up for myself now and speak for those who can’t, You brought out that strength, that way of being in the world, to be kind and strong. 

I’m grateful for that and I’ll pass the baton on.

When you laughed out loud, an explosion of giggles, your whole body quivered and your tippy toes danced as though being tickled. 

And you truly loved Dad, you really did, you told me last year whilst munching Weetabix, and Quavers, sometimes all at once, you liked all the flavours of food, life and wants. 

And you couldn’t believe how devoted Dad was when you needed him there, he stayed by your side and gave you the care, you gave others.    

Your spirit was joyful, playful and curious.

Even when you never left the house you wanted to know what the world was about. 

Your loving eyes and care of all the people and animals, the one’s abandoned and the ones with a pedigree.

All were welcome, you encouraged inclusivity, before it was ‘cool’ there was a farmyard of madness in the home we grew up in, over the water from Liverpool. 

I hope they’re taking great care of you now, the people, the rabbits, dogs and cats you found.

Before I was born when you were just 21, you’d already won medals running for the county, sprinting, triathlon and high jump, your fuel, they were really a tool and you excelled at them all. 

At the height of your illness when we were small, you ran in the mothers race and charged through that bell to be first of them all. 

The determination, power and focus I saw stayed with me in hard times when I needed that more, the grit, the power, that gift.  Thank you.

You were always there at the end of the phone, listening to problems, trying to solve them, like a dog with a bone. 

It’s little known what a great dancer you were, how the music lit you up and your body didn’t care if there was pain, when you danced you healed, and the songs in ‘Fame’ lit you up, your body shook and we all danced with you. 

You called yourself a ‘night owl’ and they came that night 2 weeks before your spirit took flight. 

They sat on the posts guiding my way home in the dark, they  flew all around the car and I stopped and stared, never seen so many, I didn’t know then they came with the word of your intention to leave. 

I can grieve your passing and be in wonder at the mystery of the owls that night as they came and took flight. 

We’ll miss your presence and spark of life, though I feel you close by when the Owl chimes strike. 

I hear you and remember your words of wisdom. 

I hear you say relax, don’t worry, no need to hurry.  Each generation has their own place, you take yours and live it with grace.

I’ll miss your bear hugs and who you were, may you be at peace, joyful, without a care, you played your part and gave your heart, now it’s your time to dance, a new cycle to start. 

I love you very much Mum, that I know you know, you’re always in my heart, now fly free, it’s time to go.…


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