A Mother’s Eulogy - Written by the Mother in Question!
Well, my family might just spill the beans and tell the truth so I thought it best to write something that I would be pleased with should I not be present at the time. Well, I might be present…but in what capacity?
So, sit back, make yourself comfortable and imagine my daughter delivering this short account of what I have provided for her to read on my demise. I think you will agree it is the story of a remarkable woman. A remarkable woman? In case you’re wondering…that’s me, that is! However, I should just mention that the piece was written before my grandson was born and at the time the nearest I was to becoming a grandparent was to my other daughter's two chickens or as I like to call them my grandchickens! Before you scoff let me just tell you these are very middle class chickens, living as they do in very expensive sheltered accommodation known as The Eggloo and my daughter has managed to get them in to a very expensive private school with an eggcellent reputation. Her only difficulty is trying to get them kitted out with their school uniform. Anyway, let’s not waste time with frippery as I can sense you the readers are impatient to know more about me as I am myself because I don’t yet know which of my many talents I will focus on. So, this is what I provided for my daughter to read.
Mums was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother to chickens Pom Pom and Beaker. She was always ready to chicken sit at a moment’s notice. Then, when they started school she always made a point of supporting them on their sports day, cheering them on, willing them to win. The only event she refused to cheer on from the sidelines was the egg and spoon race as she felt that her beloved Pom Pom and Beaker were at a distinct disadvantage as all the other participants had their eggs on a plate, or rather on a spoon, whereas poor Pom Pom and Beaker had to wait until they had produced theirs which gave the others a sizeable advantage.
A keen sportswoman herself with the body of a finely honed athlete, she came third in the Mum’s race back in 1981 and although quietly proud of this achievement she never broadcast the fact preferring to surreptitiously look at the little certificate which she kept hidden in a drawer.
She was a stalwart of the Women’s Institute famous for her marmalade, which was always in great demand and her apricot chutney was to die for, and the family take no responsibility for any that did as Mums would say... there is no excuse for gluttony!
A pillar of the community she took over the responsibility for all the flower arrangements for the church and she was much in demand for weddings and funerals as no function would be complete without Mum's delicate touch. She would trust no one to arrange the flowers as even today’s beautiful arrangements she did from her hospital bed. She asked me to apologise to the nurses on her behalf for all the mess she made on the ward but as she said “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” “Oh Pom Pom don’t cry, she didn’t mean it, she was sick.”
No Eulogy would be complete without mention of Mum’s legendary skill with a needle. She made all her own clothes which is a possible explanation for the hump on her back as zips were not her strong point. However, her crochet work and lace-making skills were unrivalled as the altar cloths you see here today bear testament along with the beautiful tapestries you see hanging in every church in the county. In fact, her largest tapestry has been very favourably compared to the Bayeux tapestry that everyone makes so much fuss about. Mums always said that post Parkinson’s threading the needle was the hardest part. Get that licked and the tapestry took no time at all. However, the one great sadness in her later life which she endured with extreme forbearance was that with the onset of Parkinson’s Mum’s had to give up her Knife Throwing Act as she found it difficult to recruit a replacement for her glamorous assistant once word got out about the accident.
Not many people know this but she also had a fine soprano voice and she would often, when the call came in, slip up to London to sing at Covent Garden as she had made Madame Butterfly her own as well as, rather surprisingly, Nessun Dorma which the critics thought she sung better than Pavarotti but Mums modestly refused to acknowledge this. Whilst there she would buy the flowers for her spectacular arrangements from a young girl who used to sing “Who will Buy My Sweet Red Roses?” Mums always asked if that was all she had as she was thinking more of dahlias!
Mums was also a talented and keen playwright as she was a prolific writer of stuff nobody wanted to read. However, undaunted, she continued with her writing in the belief that, like dead artists, her work would become more valued once she had passed over because then there would be a finite number of plays. Unfortunately, it is the finite number that seems to have attracted the most attention as most peoples’ comments seem to range from “Oh, not another one of those dreadful plays?” to “I can’t read that I’ve just trodden on my glasses!” Even though I was stood there when her so called friend threw them to the floor and jumped on them.
However, there are one or two little rituals from our childhood that my sister and I remember with fondness, the first being Mums waiting with infinite patience for us to come home from school. Sitting there quietly in the public bar of the Jobber’s Rest waiting for us to get her up and steady on her feet before walking her home. This little ritual was a source of great joy to her when she could remember who the bleeding hell we were! Another fond memory is that, unlike most mothers, every night, before tucking us in, she would read to us before going to sleep. Yes, she would drop off almost immediately she picked up the book but then so did we because the Three Little Golliwogs couldn’t hold our attention for long…not when you’re eighteen and dying to get up the pub with your mates but we always liked to be there when she eventually opened those gin sodden eyes as she struggled to sit up. “Now, where was I?” she would smile “And where the fuck are those bleeding golliwogs?” Mums loved Enid Blyton because she credited her with being the one person who could get the nation’s children to read but she never agreed with her using foul language in books that were essentially for children.
Anyhow, Mums would be so pleased to see you all…both, here today and she has provided a lovely buffet for you all…both, to enjoy so do stay… not even for a little while? There’s something good on the telly… the final part of Mistresses…but Dad I really think…oh, never mind! We’ll just carry on without you. OH, not you as well, Gill? What…the decking needs oiling? Oh, okay just me then. Although… thinking about it, I haven’t got any salad in for my sandwiches so I could do with nipping to Tesco… Besides, it’s not as if Mums would mind…well…she might…but it’s not as if she’s in a position to do anything about it, now, is it?
THAT’S WHAT THEY THINK!