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  #1  
Old 17th December 2007, 21:53
Medea Medea is offline
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Default Delivered my nan's eulogy at her funeral

3 pages and I only mucked up twice, not too bad!

Here is the eulogy I wrote for her:

Dorothy was born in 1913 on a cold November day. She was the first girl and third child of nine and first saw the light of day in a very small tithe cottage, a place that she would love for the rest of her life. When my grandmother was one year old world war one began, when she was 5 it ended and women were first given the vote. When she was 16 she read about the New York Stock Market crash and the world went into a deep depression. She was 26 and married when world war 2 began. By the time it ended she had given birth to 3 children. These are years and events that most of us do not remember, or only remember vaguely, in the light of our own childhoods.

My grandmother, who was born into a house that had no electricity or running water, died in an age of the mobile phone, the internet and digital television, technologies not dreamt of in her youth. Her interest and love of education lasted all of her life. The flicker of intelligence did not dim in her eyes until these last few months. I often wish I had inherited the passion for learning that my grandmother possessed in spades. Her school days were literally for her the happiest of her life. Her teacher encouraged her growing interest and intellect, inspiring her and making her look beyond the limits of the small world she had been born into. Indeed she would one day make it round the world, a thought that a small child from a tiny village would probably not have entertained in the early 20s. In the end she would make it to Canada, America and Australia, with many trips to Europe along the way, never tiring of the people she met or the chance to make new friends.

Her passion for learning never left her. I can remember only last year, when she had seemed so very alive, both in spirit and curiosity, she watched me as I showed her the internet, not quite grasping the concept, but still interested and ready to embrace new technologies.

Even when she was in the drudgery of domestic service, a job where she had few outlets for her curious mind, she set about studying the accents of the people she worked for, those she was told were her “betters” and tried to mimic them, moderating her accent accordingly, though to the end of her life she still had that homely Suffolk accent that I hope I will often hear talking to me in darker days, encouraging me onwards, as she always went onwards.

My grandmother to me was a true free spirit. She travelled the world without my granddad, who always preferred the quieter life. Her spirit was strong, she would not take no for an answer if yes was the one she wanted to hear. She was stubborn to a fault, though her stubborn determination helped her to get through many hard and terrible times.

Although she received many offers of marriage and a lot of interest from men when younger, including some she didn't take kindly too, such as one employer who tried to kiss her (his reward was a slap in the face) and another she had to escape from through a kitchen window, my grandmother remained chaste, for want of a better word, until the age of 24, when she agreed to marry my granddad in 1938. My granddad suited my nan down to the ground. He was an easy going soul, happy to let my nan live an independent life, never putting restrictions on her or stopping her from being the unique individual she truly was. In many respects they led separate lives, my nan travelling, socialising and worshipping on her own, while my granddad led his own busy life with his herd of cows and his love of visitors and stories. However they did “get it together” for long enough to have 4 children.

During the war years she struggled, as many people did. She had a small house but still managed to make room for the conscientious objectors who stayed with her and my grandfather during this time. She often told me of how their two farm cats would bring rabbits and game home for them, saying that the war would have been much harder on their stomachs had it not been for her two cats providing for them. It was also during the war that she had her first child, Christine. Tragically Christine was born disabled, during the war and a few years before the NHS. Nan had to care for Christine intensely for the 4 years Christine lived. She praised her mother-in-law for all the support she gave to her, saying she was lucky to have had the best mother-in-law in the world, not a claim many women can make. Despite all my nan's best efforts Christine stopped eating and nothing could be done to help her. Eventually she died, the doctor marking down “malnutrition” as one of the conditions she died from, a verdict which haunted my nan, who could never see a plate left with food on it.

More happily she had two other children during the war, who she loved dearly. My mother, was born a little later, in 1950 and despite my nan telling her she hadn't wanted another child, my grandmother loved my mother dearly (and told her so many times towards the end of her life) she was delighted when my mother married and gave her three grandchild. I had the honour to be her only granddaughter, my older brothers having to fight it out for favourite grandson, I could always rest assured I was favourite granddaughter, the competition being slim.

My grandmother meant a lot to me. Although she only knew me for not even a quarter of her life, I knew her for all of mine and was lucky to have her love and support well into my mid 20s. I can remember, as a child, how much she enjoyed us children. She always had a love for children, from looking after her younger brothers and sisters, to nannying in the 20s and 30s, then having her own children and finally, as a grandmother and, in the last year of her life, a great grandmother to Joe. My nan would often get on all fours to play “tigers” with us. I can't remember the rules of the game, but it involved my nan pretending to be a tiger, not an image that is easy to forget. She also loved to read to us, including many bible stories from the children's books she'd collected along the way. She also taught us songs. When she taught me “give me joy in my heart” one of the hymns we are singing today, I thought the chorus, rather than going “sing hosanna” actually went “sing o-nanna” which amused her greatly. I am also told that when I was younger, after her telling me about the Bible, I turned to her and asked if she remembered it being written, a story I have never been allowed to forget! She was a very religious women and it is down to her that I know my hymns and carols, which we would sing together on many Christmases, something I will miss enormously.

She liked to talk to us about her life. About losing her beloved brother in the war, about the years she lived in London, the jobs she had. She told me of the long walks to school, how her mother told her to brush her hair 100 times in the morning and 100 times at night. How her mother baked 16 loaves of bread a week and how she went to both church and chapel because of her parents differing denominations. She had many friends and she loved people. She loved to tell her stories to people who she befriended and foist on them something she thought they might need, be it fruit or vegetables or perhaps, as she once gave me, a broken teapot she thought I might have a use for.

She inspires me, even now she has died. She shows me what it is to be a wife and not lose yourself in your husband, to be a mother and give boundless love to your children. She was a feminist in a way that involved not burning of bras or marches, just living her life as the individual she was. She loved her family, but she loved her independence too. She loved simple things but never gave up looking at the bigger picture.


continued below...


  #2  
Old 17th December 2007, 21:53
Medea Medea is offline
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Default Re: Delivered my nan's eulogy at her funeral

When Joe was born in July she was overjoyed to see him. We, her family, are lucky enough to have some pictures of her holding him. She was thrilled to be a great-nan at last (it had only taken 93 years) and would often, up to the last month of her life, ask my mum when Joe was going to visit her again. I am sad he will not have any memories of such a unique and amazing woman. I think that if he inherits one fifth of her strength and determination then he will do very well for himself indeed.

Had she been born in a different time, perhaps 2003 instead of 1913, I have no doubt she would have lived a very different life. She would have scaled the heights of academia, taught others and been known for her remarkable mind and strength by more than just her family and friends. She was a woman with an active mind, even to the end. I am thankful she was so well and active up until the last few months of her life. Doing her daily exercises and visiting church and friends regularly.

There's so much I could tell you about my nan. I could tell you of her eccentricity, something that often made her family smile. Of her love of God, she regularly went to church and never stopped studying the Bible and even up to the last days of her life, when she was very frail, she would link hands with anyone present and pray. I could tell you of how much she liked to hug and be hugged and of the interest she always took in my school and university work. I could tell you how she wrote to me at least once a month after I'd moved away and how much I treasure her last letter. These are all things that I am sure, in time, her great grandchildren will hear about. For though she is now dead and gone from us, she is in Joe's smiles.

I will miss my nan more, I think, than most people miss their nan's, because you was such a unique person and gave me such love and such a reason to be proud of the people that I come from. I hope you are at peace nan. Words are now beyond us but love never will be.
  #3  
Old 17th December 2007, 22:05
Ozzy Ozzy is offline
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Default Re: Delivered my nan's eulogy at her funeral

reading this made me a bit sniffy my heart gos out to you and your famley on a day like this ren
  #4  
Old 17th December 2007, 22:08
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Default Re: Delivered my nan's eulogy at her funeral

Simply astounding and so moving...
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Old 17th December 2007, 22:09
AlienBuddha AlienBuddha is offline
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Default Re: Delivered my nan's eulogy at her funeral

Well done Ren! I admire your courage and tenacity... something I was be so scared of doing.
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Old 17th December 2007, 22:11
Medea Medea is offline
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Default Re: Delivered my nan's eulogy at her funeral

Thank you all. I wanted to do an amazing woman justice, but I fear not even 100 pages or 100 speeches could sum up just what a unique woman I had for my grandmother.
  #7  
Old 17th December 2007, 22:17
Kevin Hodge Kevin Hodge is offline
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Default Re: Delivered my nan's eulogy at her funeral

aw ren, i've been thinking about you, i saw you say you had a funeral to go to and i thought that would be it.

i'm sure your nan would have been overwhelmed by the love you expressed in that eulogy. i'm sorry for your personal loss and hope that the hurt isn't too much for you. i trust that she will continue to affect your life and inspire you for as long as you are around.

i don't know if your nan would have understood the difficulties you may have faced in such a public duty as delivering a eulogy, but if she did i'm sure she would have admired your strength - as i do. well done for facing up to the fear as well as your nans passing away.

wishing you all the best ren, take care of yourself.

skink
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Old 17th December 2007, 23:36
marbles marbles is offline
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Default Re: Delivered my nan's eulogy at her funeral

really moving. i can only imagine what that meant to people who knew her. well done for getting up there and delivering it too.
  #9  
Old 18th December 2007, 10:56
W!llow W!llow is offline
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Default Re: Delivered my nan's eulogy at her funeral

That is absolutely beautiful Ren! I'm sure it will make anyone reading get a picture of her and wish they had known her too.

Also well done for actually reading it too. That must of been very hard, but I can imagine the love you have for her helped transcend any fear helping you to be able to do it.
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Old 18th December 2007, 14:19
Medea Medea is offline
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Default Re: Delivered my nan's eulogy at her funeral

thanks everyone. I was scared to read it, but not half as scared as I was at the wake afterwards (where people I had never met kept talking to me and assuming I knew them).

I did brake down right at the end of my eulogy, but managed the rest of it ok.

I just wish I'd been half the woman she was.
  #11  
Old 19th December 2007, 02:26
neski neski is offline
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Default Re: Delivered my nan's eulogy at her funeral

my god, that is so well done, firstly being able to emotionaly do it during what must be an hard time, and secondly, i doff my hat to you for the public speaking :rub_onhea
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