Last night, I had a better sleep and dreamed of my mother-in-law, Elizabeth who recently died. It was as though she came to me in my dreams and made me well once more.
No good person who ever lived finds it hard to make decisions when they know what their values are. Mother Elizabeth, whose funeral service will be held one week tomorrow was as decisive as they came. After her death, I felt it should be her only son, Winston's place to formulate her Chapel Eulogy, so I make mine here, to inform anyone who never had the pleasure of meeting Mum, to know a little more of her.
She was a forgiving woman, who even in her older years when her pain was more pronounced, could row within whatever choppy and difficult type of water daily life presented.
Born in Macau, a Portuguese colony off Hong Kong, alongside a river of respect, Mother Elizabeth bathed in its attributes whenever she dealt with others in her life thereafter. I never saw her angry; a characteristic that was capable of arousing the envy of the God Mars. It was as though she knew that which is spoken from the heart alone, will win the hearts of others to your own. Mother Elizabeth, like her only daughter, my dear wife, Sheila, had the capacity to steal another's heart and love with nothing more than a genuine smile irradiated in the wind of good will!
Whenever I lifted Mum in and out of the car to take her up to Cemetery Road in Haworth, she would thank each small action of mine in profusion; reminding me of the words of Jacques Maritain, 'Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.' Martain , who was a French philosopher and political thinker spent much of his life interpreting the religious thoughts of St. Thomas Aquinas. Mother Elizabeth and he would have got on like a house on fire as she never had her nose out of a bible or book of hymns.
All changes have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves. It is a sad fact that we must die to one life before we can enter another, and this is never truer than when a person develops Alzheimer's; a condition Mother Elizabeth contracted almost ten years ago before I knew her or my wife, Sheila.
Children are a grandmother's riches and Mother Elizabeth's grandchildren provided her with a wealth she treasured. Her grandchildren loved her and visited her often. Those in England were at her deathbed singing songs and praying during her final hour. They will also be displaying their musical talents at her funeral service.
When I first met her, Mother Elizabeth had very little eyesight. She got macular degeneration in the early 90's and also developed glaucoma. She lost the sharpness of her sight to the mere outline of shadow a few years ago, yet she maintained a clear vision of the world she loved and knew; a world she was content to live in. She instinctively knew that were it not for hope, the heart would break and she maintained hope in her family and contentment in her life until the day she died.
Mother Elizabeth entered Oakworth Manor Residential Home in August 2009 where Sheila visited her daily and took her out in her wheelchair whenever the weather allowed it. By the time Sheila and I met, sadly Mother Elizabeth had developed Alzheimer's and because of her condition, I suppose no recognition could be made, despite the regular introduction by Sheila. We nevertheless enjoyed many a walk along Cemetery Road and enjoyed the view of Haworth Moorland and 'Sladen Reservoir', which Mother Elizabeth called her 'Lake of Galilee'.
Though but one person, her recent loss leaves a large hole in our life and makes the world seem more depopulated than it actually is. Whatever I fail to remember about Mother Elizabeth, I will never forget her infectious smile and her inherent goodness. We love you, Mum. Bill and Sheila.xxx" June 1st, 2017.