On Wednesday morning we arrived back in Florida, thirty-six hours after hugging my sister one last time. What a very special time we had together.
Thank you so much to all of you who have left caring and loving messages of support here. This is such a wonderful community, and I appreciate every single one of you. I believe it’s so important to thank people, and when we as a family went to the care home where mom had been so well looked after for the past eighteen months, to take a ‘Thank You’ cake and some delicious eats for the dedicated ladies who work there, we were quite taken aback to be told that we were the first family to ever go back and show gratitude for the work they do. It was so very moving to receive their hugs of condolence and to realise how much they had also grown to love our mom during the time they’d known her.
What a beautiful, sparkling day we were blessed with for mom’s memorial service.
It was held in the foyer of the church she once attended, and was very informal with everyone seated around tables covered with colourful cloths. It was wonderful to see so many of her friends gathered to honour her memory, and one elderly couple had driven all the way from Johannesburg to be there. Two of the church elders who had known mom and dad for many years, shared their thoughts, and hubby read tributes from the grandchildren overseas. My sister’s husband gave the eulogy and of course I also shared some of my most special memories of my mom, which prompted many smiles as well as a few tears. Afterwards we had tea and refreshments and chatted for a long time before people eventually started to disperse. It was a really uplifting time, and so comforting to receive such heartfelt condolences from people who really cared, and had loved her so much. It was a time of celebration of mom’s life rather than a time of mourning, which is exactly what she would have wished for.
My sister and I had a wonderful few days together, and of course we spoke about our mom constantly; over delicious meals and even whilst out shopping, especially when we saw any items of clothing in her favourite shades of purple or mauve. Last Sunday we took mom’s ashes, and with our husbands holding tightly onto us, scattered them from a beautiful viewpoint high up in the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve.
My sister had the idea that mom would want us to choose this place, as one of her biggest challenges after dad died ten years ago, was starting to drive again at the age of eighty. The route she used to take through Kloof Gorge to and from my sister’s house, was along very steep, narrow and winding roads, but she gamely managed it in her little white Hyundai Getz, until about three years ago when we decided that for her own safety and that of other road users, she should rather allow one of us to chauffeur her.
I brought back with me a pile of old photos which we found in a box in mom’s cupboard, and before retiring to my beckoning bed on Wednesday evening, I looked through them all, remembering family and friends from long ago. My absolute favourite has to be this one taken on an Amsterdam street in 1966. I’d never seen it before, but for me it just empitomises the amazing woman mom was; vibrant, happy, gentle, always a lady, a natural beauty, and so full of fun. This is how I will always remember her.
It’s good to be back here, and I will endeavour to catch up with you all over the weekend. Have a really good one.