Tuesday 1 May 2012

A Tuesday Tale - how to have a good send off

Maybe I have a dark sense of humour, but I've never forgotten one thing about the awful bleakness of my Mum's funeral many years ago - she died tragically and accidentally but had always wanted to be buried in the family plot, which was in a different Parish to the one that the funeral company knew. On the way to the service and burial, Dad and I were in the first black limo. behind the hearse - and after passing the same route a few times it was obvious we were lost. Dad squeezed my hand and whispered 'You know what chick, your Mum never could navigate!'. I never forgot that moment of sad, yet true humour, in the depths of despair.

Yesterday was a day to rejoice, and cry, over the lives of Mary and Ken:
60th Wedding Anniversary

Wedding Day

And, yesterday's Thanksgiving Service for Mary and Ken who died recently, was also punctuated by humour. Both Mary and Ken had been sort of planning for this and so many things did have us laughing, in between the tears - despite their insistence that it should be a joyful occasion I do think that many of us, not least yours truly, were shedding tears for themselves at the loss of two really amazing people from our lives. These things happened or were said yesterday during the Thanksgiving Service, by the Padre and others.

1. Mary was a staunch Christian and church goer - Ken, when he did attend on special occasions, genuinely had the Garrison Padre wondering if the roof might cave in - this came from the Padre today!

2. A couple of years ago, when Padre was collecting Mary to take her to church one Sunday, Ken took him to one side once Mary was safely buckled into the passenger seat and the car was ready to go. He quietly said that he would like the Padre to conduct his funeral service when the time came - to which the response was 'Of course, it would be my pleasure'. At this, Ken sort of raised his eyebrows and replied 'Not quite the eager response I expected Padre'.

3. The first hymn yesterday, chosen by a non-church going Ken, was 'Onward Christian Soldiers' and if you've ever sung every single verse of this, almost in marching tempo, you have to think that Ken was having a secret smile.

4. At the age of 82 Mary was still volunteering for everything going, she was on every fund raising committee and action group going the whole time I knew her, and immediately put her name down for a fund raising 'zip-line'. It's thought that she really imagined it was something to do with sewing - but, game as she was when the truth dawned she did the zip-line, squealing the whole time, and then hung there like a limp puppet waiting to be released :)

5. The programme had these words from Ken ' Please do adjourn to xxxx for refreshments. It will be your last chance to have a last drink at my expense' and I can just hear him saying it, very much tongue in cheek. His ambition, spoken about privately to Len, was to die owing millions - or, we heard from one son today, to be stabbed in the back by a jealous husband :) Even the Padre came up with a beauty - Ken wasn't known for his punctuality (I know I can vouch for this from my childhood) and he'd wryly remarked to the Padre - 'Well, at least when I die I'll have really earned the name the Late Ken xxxxx.

6. Mary's words on the programme were 'Thank you everyone for coming. My love and God Bless'. 'Love and God Bless' was always Mary's sign off on letters and cards, I'll miss it so very much. She wrote to me every single week when I was at boarding school, and that must have taken some dedication.Mary and Ken were different in many ways, yet so perfectly suited :)
I confess that I wept when I saw their beautiful photo taken together at their Diamond Anniversary, both on the programme and the altar - tears of happiness for sharing in their lives, and tears of pure selfishness to know they are gone - and most of all, tears of quiet joy that they are together still.

I know that Tuesday Tales are meant to be funny - but if you think about this, there are some pretty dry gems from Ken :) Two truly remarkable people who were only second to my own parents - and they left us with a smile and happy memories, once the heartache heals.

Lastly, Pete their eldest son found this trinket box in their house and gave it to me today. I made it for their Golden Wedding Anniversary, and from the ring imprints in it Mary used it to pop her rings into it each night. We also added a bottle of champagne for them at the time, or perhaps a decent bottle of whisky - little grin, that had been consumed long ago:
My love to you, if you even read this far! Treasure all those you like and love while you can.



  1. A beautiful post Di. You were truly blessed to have had such special people in your life. Thanks for sharing it.
    A x

  2. Oh dear . . . I am in tears! Very poignant post Di. I know your pain and sadness will ease with the passage of time, but until then, I am sending you a great big hug! xxx

  3. A lovely touching post Di and so heart felt. They were clearly very special people and though it's sad they are gone, it's comforting to know they are still together. What more could two loving people ask for, I certainly wish for that.

    Thanks for sharing this emotional, close experience, you brought a tear to my eye.

    Have a good Tuesday xx

  4. I certainly did read right to the end, Di, alternating between tears and laughter. It is sad, always, to say goodbye to those who have meant so much to us, but wonderful to have such great memories of their lives and their humour. At least, you know they are still together as they were in life. We went, very recently, to the funeral of a good friend and it was the best funeral I have ever been to - I know that sounds odd. The tribute spoken by his daughter was truly special, and her words gave us all permission, if you like, to remember and revel in his humour and love of life, while still acknowledging that we would not see him again in this life. I would add to your words, also treasure your good memories, and let the bad things go, and always feel free to talk about those wonderful people who were in our lives. xx Hugs from Maggie

  5. What a special couple they were and such a tribute from you. As for Onward Christian soldiers it reminded me of the funeral of the headmaster at the school were I taught - it was his favourite for the childrent to sing in assembly and it was sung at his funeral with gusto x

  6. I too have tears in my eyes after reading that. It sounds like they were very special people to you Di. My partners Gran had 'onward christian soldiers' at her funeral and it made us all giggle a bit as she chose the longest songs to sing, they said she would try and keep us there as long as possible!
    Hope you find some comfort from your memories Di, sending you a big hug.
    Laura xxx

  7. A sad time, but they look so happy in the photo, reunited on their cloud. Memories will keep them forever in your heart. It makes us all think of ones we've loved and lost - and indeed will always love. Thank you for sharing your kind heart and sorrow with us, which will happily turn into laughs as you remember them. Karen x

  8. Hi Di

    I have just read your tribute to Mary & Ken and it brought so many memories of family who I have lost but still hold wonderful menories in my heart. You will treasure all your memories, and have a few tears but lots of laughter along the way. God Bless

  9. Funerals are always bittersweet, it's nice to remember and be remembered but it's also sad to realise that you won't hear those words from them again, or have a letter pop through your door one day with Mary's usual sign off. Thinking about you today Di and sending a hug. It's hard, but be happy you had them in your life instead of sad that they're gone, I'm sure your life is richer for having them in it.


  10. That's quite a send-off. They sound a remarkable couple. I am so glad you have happy memories to keep them alive in your heart. Kate x

  11. A truly beautiful post, Di. I'm typing with tears, see what you do to us. It sounds a very special service and very personal with both of them contributing to it themselves. I know you will have lots of special memories and by the sound of it lots of them are very happy.
    Take care my friend. I'm sending you a special hug this Tuesday.
    Hugs Lisax

  12. Oh Di, I'm in tears here. They sound as if they were a perfect fit for each other. I can see why they are special to you.

    Big hug,


  13. Such a lovely post about a wonderful couple. You obviously have lots of wonderful memories to keep them alive in your heart.

  14. Big lump in my throat now Di .. .. and I am counting my blessings.

    Love Jules xx

  15. Oh Di, you've reduced me to tears with your wonderful tribute to an amazing couple. It sounds as if you'll miss them very much but I'm glad you'll have such lovely memories. Vicky x

  16. we will raise a glass net month to all absent friends

  17. Lovely to see a photo of your much-loved Mary and Ken. Sad time for you but a comfort to know neither had to live long without the other ... they do look a particularly loving couple even after all those years. Hugs, Elizabeth x

  18. Such a lovely way to remember such a wonderful couple. It is amazing sometimes how big an influence/ inpression some peope can make on our lives, it sounds like you treasured them and they you. Sending hugs , amanda xx


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