Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Memorial - the lady in red ...

Our hearts were warm ...yet the day dawned very dull and threatening ... that’s the trouble in being near Land’s End ... no land, lots of sea and thus vistas to watch the weather setting in ... our family service outside fortunately remained dry, though the ground was somewhat soggy!
Gulval Church hidden amongst the
ancient Cornish windswept trees

We regrouped for coffee across the road in the pub – relatives began to arrive ... that was good timing – giving them a chance to spend time with Jenny, my mother’s cousin from Vancouver Island, before she left that afternoon to prepare for a flight to Holland from Exeter airport early the next day.

The rain came down ... the typical Cornish drenching sort ... not heavy, but certainly enough to become soaked through if the occasion arose ... thankfully the trees sheltered us in our meander across, while The Coldstreamer welcomed us with a roaring fire, lots of fresh hot coffee and tea ...

A brigantine

Then the good folks started to gather for the Memorial Service in celebration of our mother’s life ... she loved all things to do with the sea – so this Tall Ship graced the Order of Service ... I tried to get round the church to say my welcomes and thanks ... for coming, for the harvest- autumnal flowers, for manning the Church etc - for us ...

The Service was simple and old fashioned – yet ‘rocked’ along happily – no time for stuffiness (that was not my mother) ... the vicar had said don’t  worry about having all the verses, the organist will ‘drive’ you along – and he sure did.

Gulval Church interior

I know many of you will be interested to see the hymns, psalms and readings we chose ... so I’ve listed them out, with the anomalies that occur in life ... oh I missed some choruses off the Order of Service sheet, and I just spotted a spelling mistake  ... oh well!

Eastbourne Service:
  • Debussy’s Symphonic Suite “La Mer”  (rather long for a 30 minute service!)
  • Hymn:  Eternal Father, Strong to Save (vs 1 and 4)
  • Opening prayers
  • Psalm 121: I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills (sung by St Paul’s Cathedral choir)
  • Reading:  John 14, vs 1 – 6
  • The tribute
  • Hymn: The Day Though Gavest, Lord, is Ended (vs 1 and 5)
  • Prayer:  Eternal God, our life is a fleeting shadow that does not endure. Our years pass quickly ....
  • The Lord’s Prayer, prayers, The Blessing ...
  • Closing music: Johann Sebastian Bach’s Chorale Movement: “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring”

Sailing in the Fal estuary
That was rushed, but we just made it  in 30 minutes ... but tying in the piped music to what you actually wanted ... was somewhat guess work  – and it showed ... the 2nd hymn was so quiet we reached the end, while the choristers had two lines left ..... at least it was the right music!

Penzance Service:   at which we had an organist – bliss! – someone who knew what they were doing:        
  • Incoming music ... various pieces including “Melody in F” by Anton Rubinstein
  • Hymn: Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven
  • Opening prayers
  • Psalm 134: Behold now, praise the lord: all ye servants of the Lord ... (we said this together)
  • Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4: verses 13 – 18
  • Hymn: O God, Our help in ages past
  • Appreciations, tributes and thanks ...
  • Hymn: Guide me, O Thou Great Redeemer
  • Prayer – we repeated the same prayer from the earlier service – it seems to sum up many aspects of a life passing .... ‘Eternal God, our life is a fleeting shadow ...’
  • The Lord’s Prayer, prayers, The Blessing ...
  • Outgoing music: Theme from Largo by Dvorak, taken from the New World Symphony

Gulval Church - it is now much more
Somewhere in here ... the vicar, who was amazing and really cohered the Service into a semblance of order ... made fond mention of our mother – remembering her strengths and sense of fun, along with her formidable mind, kindness and thoughtfulness ...  everyone commented what a fabulous job he did ...

... he summarised our mother’s presence by striding forth down the nave, then gesturing with his right arm ... and saying – that is where the lady in red sat ... at times I feel I can see her there – that seat ‘hugging the pillar’ was her seat – always in a red coat ... I will always remember her.

The ornate drinking fountain, designed
for both horses and humans ... now put
to a modern use for a flower display:
Church behind the trees, Coldstreamer
pub behind the photographer ... 
We then made use of those trees again splashing our way across the square to the welcoming arms of The Coldstreamer ... they too did us proud ... the three rooms gave us space, plenty of places to sit ... and time to chat or catch up.

We had a goodly mix ... family and friends, Jenny from Vancouver Island and two more cousins from my mother’s generation, a cousin from Moscow, via Zimbabwe and South Africa, another cousin, whose grandparents my mother had looked after at the Care Home – Diana, who was able to meet the carer, who had sat with her grandmother in her last hours ...

... a niece from my mother’s first marriage (he died in the War) ... plenty of carers, who used to work for my mother, and associates from the Care Homes fraternity ... church members – including a chap, whose mother used to know our great grandmother (at least I think that was the connection) ... the family is local – though as you can gather dispersed somewhat.

A Redwing racing through the waves

I’m back and slowly getting into things ... I guess by Christmas I might be clear – letter writing seems to abound still!  But I have plenty to blog about ...

Farewell to ‘the lady in red’ ... at least we have some lovely final memories and all the dots have been dotted, the ‘t’s’ crossed and now I just need to relax into a life of my own.

I will tempt your taste buds next ... the food was delicious and just what our mother would have ordered ... I’m sure she’d have been pleased and very surprised at the response we have had ...

Hardwick says ... his new mistress
needs to take some better pictures!
... as well as all of you – I would love to have her here now ... so I could amuse her with your comments – she’d have been so, so pleased – I can’t thank you enough ... you have all made my journey along the way so much easier ...

Hardwick came with me ... and I believe we will continue our exploratory musings into life ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


jabblog said...

Splendid - you did your mother proud. The Lady in Red must surely have been smiling down:-)

D.G. Hudson said...

Very nice to hear that everything went well with the memorial. It sounds impressive.

Take care. Will check back.

Sue said...

Thankyou for sharing the service Hilary. Your mother sounds like she was a very interesting woman and it sounds like her life was celebrated with love and in style.

I was delighted to see the brigantine in there. I have two beautiful prints of clipper ships in full sail from the 1920s on the wall at my back. Love looking at them, would hate to sail on one. The little Redwing looks much more friendly!

thinking of you

dolorah said...

An awesome service. Your mother surely must have enjoyed it all from heaven.


A Lady's Life said...

The Lady in Red. What a bright person she must have been and will always be remembered as such.
Lovely Hilary!

Betsy Wuebker said...

Thank you for sharing these thoughtful details. I've always loved "Eternal Father, strong to save" - it's the Navy hymnn here in the U.S.; is it so in the U.K., too?

This has been quite a journey for you, and I look forward to your sharing the next chapter.

MunirGhiasuddin said...

I hope that you are taking care of yourself Hilary. I haven't been reading a lot of blogs, therefore I do not recollect if you had mentioned about your Mom. Your blog entry tells that you are very patient and graceful about taking care of details. God Bless you and my prayers are with you always.

Anonymous said...

A lot of lovely music there, though perhaps what I loved most was this: "he summarised our mother’s presence by striding forth down the nave, then gesturing with his right arm ... and saying – that is where the lady in red sat ... at times I feel I can see her there – that seat ‘hugging the pillar’ was her seat – always in a red coat ... I will always remember her."

Praise be to the lady in red, held fondly in the memory of all who knew her.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

It sounds like you had a beautiful service. We should all have such a lovely send-off.

Janie Junebug said...

What a lovely farewell. I like wearing red, and I hope I'm remembered for it.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Janice - I'm sure she was .. it's a good way to remember her ..

@ DG - it was a fun service, in fact both services were, not sombre at all ..

@ Sue - many thanks, she would have loved to join in and probably was there .. she didn't like missing out!

Oh great - the brigantine meant something to you too ... my mother loved the sea with its many varieties of ships .. she used to sail a redwing and loved those times.

@ Donna - thank you so much, I sure hope she did .. I expect so ..

@ A Lady's Life - she was always positive and particularly enjoyed helping people work their way round things ..

@ Betsy - it looks like it may well be the Navy hymn here ... certainly it is the hymn for all who love the sea, serve in ships or lifeboats ..

this poignant recording says a great deal .. about its world-wide appeal

We play/ed the hymn quite often in Church, and certainly in Cornwall, and at school. It is one of my favourites. Thanks for your thoughts to my future ..

@ Munir - good to see you and many thanks for those thoughtful comments - appreciate them.

@ Sue - glad you appreciated the music with your knowledge (and my lack of!) ...

The vicar certainly hit the right note and brought the Service together for us - a great many commented on his brief address ... it was full of character and gave us much to think about ..

As you so rightly say "Praise be to the lady in red" ... she is held fondly in many memories ..

@ Susan - many thanks .. it was a lovely day and yes it was worth putting together her send-off

@ Janie - thank you .. the gloomy day was brightened with the thought of the lady in red!

Cheers everyone - thank you so much for being here and sharing the service with me ... Hilary

Jannie Funster said...

I think Hardwick's mistress is taking just peachy-keen fine photos.

The service sounds BEAUTIFUL, Hilary. I was there in spirit via this post.

Jenny from Vancouver Island is one of my favorite people I've not yet met -- as are you!!

Lots of love to the daughter of the sea-loving lady in red now sailing on shores you will catch up to her on, by and by. But not too soon! We've lots and lots more blogging to do, haven't we!??


Laura Eno said...

It all sounds like a lovely time for rememberance and a hopeful uplifting. I'm so happy for you, Hilary. You sound at peace.

Yes, more pictures of Hardwick!

MorningAJ said...

It seems like a good way to round off a good life. It will be tough, after all you've done in recent years, but it's time to start looking after yourself now.
Take care.

walk2write said...

A funeral should be a celebration of life well-lived and love remembered. Your mother must have been a very special person, a dash of vibrant color to brighten her world, a pillar of strength to support the ones who depended on her. Take care and God bless, Ms. Hilary.

Julie Flanders said...

This sounds like a beautiful memorial, Hilary. I'm sure your mother was watching and smiling down on a very fitting tribute to her. Hugs to you.

Talli Roland said...

I absolutely love the musical selections, Hilary - what a wonderful way to celebrate your mother's life and a great tribute. Hugs and love!

Friko said...

What a lovely send-off you gave the lady in red. Family and friends coming from far and wide, only the best loved people are honoured that way.

It makes saying good-bye so very special.

Hilary, you are back in my comments, all's well that ends well. Blogger has stopped thinking of you as some nasty spammer who must be expelled into outer space.

Gattina said...

As I know you only since a short time, I just understand that you have been in Cornwall for a memorial service for your mother. It was certainly nice for you to see all your relatives.

Sara said...

I loved the picture of Hardwick. He looks happy sitting between the flower pots.

What a service for your mom!!! I am so impressed. I agree with what others said...the joining of friends and family must have brought a smile to your mom's face as she watched over the gathering (and I know she did:~)

Jo said...

A great memorial to the Lady in Red.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jannie .. I wish it was Hardwick's mistress taking those peachy-keen fine photos .. sadly tis Wikipedia - something I must change in 2013!

The Services were both 'fun' cheerful events I'm pleased to say .. and it was lovely to see Jenny: one day thee and I shall meet along with BB and Hardwick!

Glad I've got a few years before I catch that rainbow cloud ... as we have loads more blogging to do and stories to tell each other ..

Hardwick sends his xxxooo too, as do I xoxoxoxo to BB and You ...

@ Laura - thanks so much - all went off happily and yes, Hardwick does need a makeover photo wise - as do I .. I think!

@ Morning AJ - thanks for your thoughts .. I think my mother would be bemused by it all - but chuffed. I am and will be thinking of me a little more - thankfully I'm fine and just getting on with things ..

@ Walk2Write .. you hit the nail on the head - she was a special person and her personality shone through - we will miss her: but she had had a good innings even to the end ... thank you.

@ Julie - it was the right decision to have the Memorial in her home county ... and those who could turned out for her .. appreciate your comment.

@ Talli - many thanks ... the music with a little help from brothers and music man - ie the organist. The hymns are all good church ones .. with the original scores and words - just the way my mother would have wanted.

@ Friko - Lady in Red .. I never thought I'd describe my mother that way - but it fits so appropriately ...

We were lucky such a varied mix of friends and relatives, and her business colleagues turned up .. it was a very good mix of peoples. It has helped that final goodbye - the services with friends there made it that bit special.

Glad I'm back in your comments ... some I am, some I am not ... who knows - I don't think even blogger knows!

@ Gattina - thanks so much - yes my mother died in July, so it was lovely we could fit in the Memorial quite quickly and before winter arrived. People will travel if the weather is reasonable!

@ Sara - poor Hardwick he's well loved and much bare, had to have a tummy tuck too ... still he and I will travel together in thought, creative ideas dreaming educative posts together ...

I'm sure my Mama was there - and I've been pleased that both Services were individual and went off so well ... everyone seemed to enjoy them - and enjoyed the reminiscing about times past ..

@ Jo - thank you!

Cheers everyone - Hilary

Sherry Ellis said...

Sounds like it was a lovely service!

Anonymous said...

Hilary, thank you for sharing about the memorial for your mother. Sounds like it was a beautiful service.

Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like it was a wonderful memorial.

Beautiful photographs!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I know that despite the loving support of family and friends, it was a bittersweet day. My deepest sympathies for the loss of your mother, Hilary.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Hilary,

I'm glad you were able to do this tribute to your mother. Our parents hold a unique position in our lives, and we're told to honor them.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sherry, Susanne, GE - many thanks, it was a good Service, as my mother would have liked.

@ Joylene - yes you're right there were some bittersweet moments

@ Susan - we were able to remember my mother and her forebears at the Service, which was a happy inclusion .. our parents are unique to us aren't they.

Many thanks - have good weekends .. Hilary

Rosalind Adam said...

It sounds like a beautiful memorial and Psalm 121, one of my favourites.

Diane said...

It sounds like you had a really excellent memorial, I hope that when I go people will enjoy my past life and not be unhappy.
Have a good weekend Diane

Lynn said...

The lady in red certainly had a wonderful family to honor her like that. Lovely.

Empty Nest Insider said...

This was such a lovely memorial service for your mum! The perfect setting for the "Lady in Red." I hope that it was comforting being with your family and friends. Julie

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Aw Hilary, I wish I could have been there to hear the stories and tribute to your mom. Through you I felt like I knew her in a small way.

I'm glad Hardwick is with you.


Karen Lange said...

It sounds like it was lovely, Hilary, and a wonderful tribute. Bittersweet and reflective, I'm sure. It's never easy to lose your mother. So glad you have yet another memory to cherish.
Take care of yourself,

Ella said...

Your Mother would love the tribute, the food and the stories~ I love how you set her off, as the Lady in Red!
What a cherished tribute! This was sad n' beautiful~ (((hugs)))

Deniz Bevan said...

Sounds like a lovely tribute.
Adorable photo of Hardwick.
Praise my Soul is one of my favourite hymns. Now it will be stuck in my head for the next few days, thank you! :-)

Tara Tyler said...

that was a lovely tale! you narrated it like a wonderful scene in a book! very sensory and full of your voice! thanks for sharing it!

Mark Koopmans said...

I agree with the comments above, I bet your Mum was well impressed and had a wonderful smile on her face as she watched all the preparations come to fruition.

*Thanks* for sharing...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ros - Psalm 121 is beautiful isn't it and sung by the choir, it was stunning.

@ Diane - it would be lovely to think forward wouldn't it and set the scene in preparation of that unknown time.

@ Lynn - it was great being together to share these times

@ Julie - many thanks .. I'm sure she'd have enjoyed being "the lady in red" - and it was a lovely occasion.

@ Teresa - I'm sure some of the stories will rattle around the blog soon, and yes Hardwick has a good home here ...

@ Karen - as you say bittersweet, but reflective ... she gathered her flock in - and as you say we have that memory.

@ Ella - thanks so much .. it has been a cherished time in so many ways, and I'm happy we finished off with a memorial.

@ Deniz - dear Hardwick .. he was fondly remembered by the Cornish staff! The hymns were the 'good old fashioned' ones .. I just love them.

@ Tara - much appreciate your comment, if you felt like you were there with us that is so good to know ...

@ Mark - well I hope there were a few enjoying the time with us, as their newest member turned up to their fold - those stories I can visualise ... it's good to know you enjoyed the sharing ..

Thanks so much - it's lovely to see you - have excellent weekends - Hilary

Annalisa Crawford said...

So glad it all went well. And you've written such a touching account.

scarlett clay said...

Sounds like the very best of tributes to your mother..what a beautiful all the hymns listed as well. It's wonderful so many were able to come from far and wide to honor her life and support you and your family. Thank you for sharing the memorial, blessings to you and happy memories. <3

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Annalisa - many thanks and glad you appreciated the post ..

@ Scarlett - yes we were lucky indeed having so many family and friends there ... especially as many of my mother's generation are in their 80s and 90s (and weren't able to attend) ... I'm really pleased sharing the day touched you - it is uplifting to read your comment ..

Have happy weekends .. Hilary

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,
What a touching, heartfelt posting, my friend. Thoughtful tributes to your beloved mother during such thoughtful times.
With warm hearts, your inspirational journey and beautiful recollections, lives on.
In peace and best wishes, Penny and co-starring her human, Gary

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I'm so glad the memorial went well and so many people were able to come. You have written a lovely post in honor of your Mum, Hilary.


Denise Covey said...

Ah, Hilary, sounds like you sent The Lady in Red off with great style. The services sound so warm and life affirming and the fellowship afterwards continued that warmth. A living testament to your mother!

Denise Covey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gary and Penny - so good to see you both .. am thinking of you. Thanks Gary - lovely words you've left for us.

@ Sharon - it was a lovely time and Mum would have been very pleased.

@ Denise - exactly the way you've expressed it .. love the word fellowship .. and she will live on down in her Cornwall.

Many thanks .. have lovely weekends - Hilary

Chase March said...

Hi Hilary,

Sounds like a fitting tribute to a woman who meant so much to so many.

Warmest thoughts and wishes!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chase .. you've said it right - our mother did mean so much to so many and they came to recognise her .. it was a lovely recognition of her work and time on earth.

Many thanks - lovely comment ... cheers Hilary

Juliet said...

What a wonderful memorial to the lady in red. She must be glowing from her heavenly clouds.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet - glad the computer's fixed - I'm sure my mother would have been suitably pleased! Thanks for coming by and reading "The Lady in Red" ..

Cheers - Hilary

Jenni Steel said...

Hello Hilary,

You certainly did your mother proud with your beautiful memorial service.It sounds wonderful and being able to share it with family and friends from all over the world. These moments are special in deed.

Your a lovely person Hilary and special in so many ways. I look forward to hearing more about your travels and musings with Hardwick.

Bless you. Jenni

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jenni .. everyone pulled together and joined us in our mother's final memories - it certainly all worked out and I think people will remember this particular memorial with joy and happiness. Hardwick enjoys his sleeping but he does come too and will be travelling and musing a great deal I suspect ..

Cheers to you - and have a good week - it's very damp down here! Hilary