After returning from Trevor’s after-party, I persuaded Myra to come in for a cup of tea. I felt the urge for some reminiscing. I retrieved a large shoe box from the study – mother’s photographs.
Mum died in 1979 – she was 65. Sadly, back then, when it came to funerals, choice was not a word in common use. You took what you were given.
We were given an Anglican priest who mumbled.
Mum had disliked religion ever since being forced to go to Sunday school with her brothers and sisters – whilst their parents had a lie-in. So it really wasn’t the send-off our very special mother deserved. However, as Myra and I both knew, it neatly avoided the problem of the eulogy.
Our mother was a clever, free-spirited and eccentric woman, but this was firmly wrapped up in a “what-would-the-neighbours-think?” mink fur coat. A truthful tribute would have been out of the question.
Myra and I began to imagine what might have been said:
Ruby and her husband had two beautiful daughters. It was a shotgun wedding and one thing led to another.
She met her soul-mate Bob when she was in her 30s. Unfortunately, by then she had been married to Sid for several years. She changed her surname; Bob became her pretend husband and she lost custody of her two beautiful daughters.
Heartbroken when Bob died twenty years later, Ruby moved to Cheshire to live with her daughter Lyra which brought her great comfort. Her GP prescribed Mogadon. We tried to persuade her to go to bed before taking the sleeping tablet. We lost count of the number of times we had to heave her up the stairs.
She enjoyed the simple pleasures in life like reading… When she ordered “Mein Kampf” from the local library, we never heard the last of it. “Can you believe it? They asked me for the name of the author!” … and the occasional glass of sherry. Every night just before she took the Mogadon.
She grew very fond of the family’s pet dog Sammy. She fed the dog digestive biscuits when no-one was looking.
She passed away peacefully with her daughters at her side. She died from lung cancer after years of smoking Player’s No. 6.
She was dearly loved. She is.
As you reflect on Ruby’s legacy, we are going to listen to… Delilah by Tom Jones. It was her favourite.
Lyra, her daughter Jamie and Grandma Ruby shortly before Bob died