Back home again with wonderful memories

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 itΒ  just empitomises the amazingΒ  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.

Vera in Holland

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.










115 comments on “Back home again with wonderful memories

  1. Dear Sylvia,

    So sorry to read about your momma’s passing. Absolutely love the pic of her here, and the sweet ones in your earlier posts. Such a blessing to have had her 90 years, and shared so many special, close memories. I hope you find peace and feel more settled each day. Glad to see you back in the saddle.

    Love, Margie

  2. Thank you for sharing your journey, Sylvia. What a terrific image of your mother. Glad you had all that time with your sister, to share all your memories and experiences. Sweet to take a thank you cake. Astounding no one ever returned to express gratitude. Your mother did an excellent job raising you to be so generous and thoughtful Xxoo Ruth

  3. My best wishes to you, Sylvia, on your healing path ahead. You mother sounds like a delightfully adventurous and strong woman, and how fortunate she was to have two warm and loving daughters and supportive sons-in-laws. I liked hearing about the memorial and why and where you freed her ashes, and the Amsterdam photo is lovely.

  4. Bless you Ad! I had no idea when you dropped in on me the other day. I was just having a swift browse tonight and thought I’d come looking for you. Please accept my very belated hugs and I can see where you got your looks and lovely cheerful personality xxx

  5. I am so, so sorry for your loss. Your eloquence when you wrote of your mothers passing and then this celebration of her life, makes the love you have and had for your mother almost palpable. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your mother.

  6. You gave your mom the very best send off. So welcome home in all senses. These big losses change us, but help us grow too, don’t they, as we carry on the meaning of those gone in our own lives, the truly important things that they entrust to us to pass on πŸ™‚

  7. non avrei mai voluto ritornando al tuo blog e trovare questa notizia! certo cara, la vita Γ¨ un passaggio siamo qui solo per un tempo indefinito, ma il vostro Γ¨ stato un grande tempo d’amore e la sua bellezza e il suo profumo vi accompagneranno sempre.Anche io ho perso la mamma e so bene l’immenso vuoto che lascia questo distacco, non ci sono parole per descriverlo ma solo la tenerezza di un amichevole e affettuoso abbraccio,Il vostro pensiero per chi l’ha amorosamente accudita Γ¨ stato davvero gentile, anche qui in Italia spesso si ringrazia cosΓ¬. Credo che vi sarΓ  sempre accanto, non vi sentirete mai sole,
    Con affetto

    • My dear Annalisa, thank you so much for your sweet condolences and words of comfort. You are so right in that my mom will always be close in my heart. She is my first thought every morning and my last thought at night. I have been so fortunate to have had her for so long, and now she has gone to her eternal rest, I am content just to remember her with love. xx

  8. I apologize for not reading for a week or more. I am having a lot of extra work with summer car repairs orders from our warehouse. We put in 10 hour days with no air-conditioning, so don’t get to library much nor look at my cell phone to answer or read posts. This means I did not realize your mother had passed on, I feel so very bad about this recent loss.
    Big hugs sent your way and am proud of your family how they rallied and honored those who work so hard in the nursing facilities. My Mom bags up candy iin little baggies, mostly dark Hershey kisses, to hand out to nurses, aides, servers in dining room, cleaning and maintenance staff. She really believes in saying, “Thank you,” through actions. Did you hear she fell and shattered her hip, so we are selling her retirement cottage which my niece, her husband, stepdaughter and baby lived in. My Dad and Mom lived there for a long time, she lived there for 30 years, he died in 2001. I cannot imagine the day my Mom dies, it will be a sad one and I feel bad I wasn’t here for you, Sylvia. Hugs, Robin

    • No apology necessary, dear Robin. We can’t possibly be expected to keep up with each and every post, and I’m sure that I may have missed other bloggers’ crucial posts. Your Mom sounds like a real honey, and I’m sure all the staff really love her and her kind gestures. πŸ™‚

  9. Welcome back home! And thank you for sharing your heart felt memories of your mom with us. It’s been several years since my mom passed on, and I still miss her dearly everyday. Take solace in knowing that we all will be reunited again someday. Take care!

  10. Welcome home, Sylvia! I’m happy that despite the sad occasion your visit was beautiful. Your mom’s wonderful memory lives on in the hearts of the many whom she touched, her spirit is free and her earthly body is part of nature again. A beautiful post. Much love, Helen

  11. It’s good to have you back AD. Not enough can be said on losing a loved one. May you always hold on to the wonderful memories…xxx

  12. It’s good to see you, Sylvia. We love your picture with your sister. You are both so beautiful and what a colour of your eyes. Like the sea πŸ™‚ Your mom looks so happy, that is the best memorie one could ever have. She even made us smile πŸ™‚ Pawkisses for a Happy Weekend πŸ™‚ ❀

  13. Welcome back Sylvia and you have such beautiful memories of your mom. Definitely something to treasure. πŸ˜€

    I love the photo of you and your sister. You are both so gorgeous and it’s a lovely photo. πŸ˜€ β™₯

  14. So glad to see this. I have been thinking about you ❀️
    I’m glad you got to spend time back home and reflect with your sister . So important!!!
    I love this pic of your mom , what a beautiful smile!!!!
    Take care of your self ❀️❀️❀️❀️

  15. Welcome back, Sylvia. I love the celebration service, very fitting for a woman who led such an amazing life. Spreading her ashes at Krantzkloof Nature Reserve was a brilliant idea.The photo of your mother is fantastic – what a beauty xxxxx

  16. Beautiful memories Sylvia. I am so glad that everything went well and that you had such a lovely memorial service. I can see where you get your wanderlust from now (and your elegance) πŸ™‚

  17. That picture of your mom is a treasure. She looks so vibrant and absolutely glows. Makes me wonder who was taking the picture to elicit such a delightful smile. I think I missed out offering my condolences while I wasn’t allowed to walk. I’ll just send my heartfelt sympathy even if it’s a bit belated. Losing a mother is such a very hard thing. ❀

    • Thanks so much, Gunta. Yes, I’m still processing losing my mom, although I know she was more than ready to leave. The way she was this past couple of years, wasn’t how she wanted to be. I wasn’t there when this photo was taken, so don’t know who she was smiling at. The pic is far to good to have been taken by my dad’s little pocket camera, so perhaps it was a street photographer. Maybe he was very handsome. πŸ™‚

  18. Yes…sisters ❀
    When my mother passed..many years ago and much too soon all I wanted was to be with my siblings and so that is what we did. I love the picture of your mom, you have her smile.
    When I pass I hope my friends and family have the same kind of service. I embrace life (as I know you do and obviously your mother did) and so it should be a celebration of that life.

  19. I find it staggering that you were the first family to say thank you to the care home in that way Sylvia but not at all surprised that it would be a gesture you and your sister would make. Your Mum led a very full and long life and how lovely that you were all able to gather to remember some special moments. Your memories are always with you as are my thoughts. πŸ™‚ x

    • Thanks so much, Adrian. Yes, looking through my mom’s travel journals, I realised that she did lead a full life. I just wish I knew more about her life as a child, growing up in Hong Kong. She did share some memories with me long ago. I wish I’d written it all down at the time. πŸ˜•

  20. Welcome home dear Sylvia, you are both so nice. I am sure your beautiful mother watched you too. I do believe they watch us from their endless place… I am so glad to see you back, Thanks and Love, nia

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