Mum would love to be here, to see who is attending.
My mother was lovely. Certainly, a hard act to follow. She always saw the good in everyone. Over the last couple of days, we have been bombarded by beautiful messages and memories that you all have of her. We are so grateful to be surrounded by so many people who truly loved her.
Mum was born in Oxford at the tail end of the war in 1944, a younger sister to Barbara. Oxford was always a favoured city for my Mum and held a special place in her affections. This was made even stronger when my brother Andrew went to university there and provided many reasons to visit and enjoy the city. And oy, was she proud!
From Oxford, her family moved to North London in the early 1950’s, where she attended Wessex Gardens and Copthall School. Whilst being a successful student and always achieving top grades, she opted to do accountancy articles straight from school, passing up the chance of university, much to her parents’ displeasure. Mum’s life changed when she was only eighteen years old, with her own mother being taken ill and passing away rapidly from cancer. This event greatly shaped her life.
The biggest way was meeting my father. The summer after her mother passed, my Grandfather Jack insisted Mum go to Israel on tour with her first cousin Diana. Guess who she met. Though it was not love at first sight. They were friendly. When my father took ill on the long journey home Mum was the only person to look after him. She even bought him baby food. A few months later they bumped into each other at a pub in Southgate. Dad asked her to the cinema to watch the Guns of Navarone. She must have liked him too, as she had already seen the movie. There started a great love story.
They got married in October 1964 and my brother Andrew was swiftly brought into the world only fifteen months later. Twenty months later he was joined by not one, but two siblings, me and my brother Rob. They were not insured for twins. They should have known because twins run in the family. Life was busy, with three kids and helping Dad run his pharmacy.
enjoyed many years travelling the world
Growing up we had many fun holidays together, and once my brothers and I flew the nest my parents enjoyed many years travelling the world. In fact, I do not think there are many corners they have not seen. They enjoyed many cruises. Our favourite giggle is hearing the story about when my parents climbed up the side rope ladder of a fifteen thousand ton cruise ship, with the whole ship watching from above. Despite seeing many of the wonders of the world, my mother gained much more fulfilment through detecting any other fellow Jewish passengers. We called it her Jew-dar, which was especially sensitive. Though, even more enjoyable for my mother was the joy of hunting for a travel bargain, and the near religious routine of preparing and packing her clothes for the trip.
There were many constants in Mum’s existence. The constant ability to provide tea and food the second you walked into the house. The constant amount of food in the fridge; and the constantly increasing number of gadgets that appeared in the kitchen, from soup makers to coffee machines to whatever was the latest fad at the ideal home exhibition. She was devastated when Tacheibo, an odds and ends shop, closed and her supply of weird gadgets was curtailed.
raising money and campaigning for Cancer Research
Despite cancer being a negative part of my Mum’s life, she also used it as a force for good, and as a way to continue her mother’s legacy. Both Mum and her sister Barbara spent many years raising money and campaigning for Cancer Research.
Even throughout her own journey with cancer, my mother was incredibly stoic. She never once complained about her situation. However unwell she may have been she was always more interested in other people and their lives, especially her children, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren. This at heart is truly who my mother was. Family was everything to her. She was never happier than when we were all together; watching the family grow and strengthen. I truly believe she achieved her greatest wish in life.
I have often stood in these prayer halls listening to others talk about their loved ones and wondered what I would say when the time came for me to be in their position. Often these eulogies are full of long lists of achievements that they have done over their lives. My mother had very few needs and requirements for herself. She was happiest in the company of her family and friends. In this last year of ill health, she never complained or moaned that things were unfair. She felt she had lived a truly blessed and happy life. She had a wonderful marriage to one of the kindest men I know and felt complete in the knowledge that her children, grandchildren and close family loved to be around. It is never a chore for us to be together. We all want to be by each other’s side because we all love and respect each other. That is the legacy of my mother’s life. For us to be together and to happily stand by each other’s side is everything my mother wanted to achieve in life, and that she has achieved in buckets.
a truly blessed and happy life
When Mum became very unwell last summer, we thought she would not live beyond the Queen’s jubilee. She had managed to do everything in life that she felt was important. She was satisfied. But we have all been so lucky to have almost ten extra special months together. It is so rare to have that time to prepare to say goodbye. I am so pleased she was allowed these precious months and her time in Hammerson House with their caring wonderful staff, and the amazing local district nurse team, gave us the space to be able to do that comfortably. Nothing has been unsaid between all of us and the look of love we saw in my mother’s beautiful blue eyes in her last few days will burn bright in my memory for ever. I do not want to forget it as it was an absolute privilege to witness.
Mum, I will miss your endless phone calls, your endless tracking, and subsequent phoning me telling where I was, as if I did not already know. But most of all I will miss your unconditional love and our special relationship which I will always appreciate, as you were never given that privilege with your own mother.
I love you and we all will miss you. Thank you for being my mother, and best friend.