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Alexander Residence: The Gallery - 24 hours

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Gallery - 24 hours

The theme at Sticky Fingers is 24 hours.  I am grateful for The Gallery, because over the last few months it has given me the chance to think about the events leading up to yesterday.  Often in a round about way, but in a significant way too.

Yesterday was my mum's funeral.  The longest and saddest but also the most special and inspiring 24 hours.  We chose a humanist ceremony, and it was outstanding.  It was such a celebration of my mum's life, and marked perfectly the ways that she will live on in the lives she has influenced.  I soaked up every last drop of stories from her friends and family.  In 24 hours I suddenly felt I had this amazing bird's eye view of her life, lots of through lines came together and I had a wonderful sense of her, as much more than my mum.

                                         

This is the picture, taken by my Dad, we chose for the Order of Service.  The image that we contemplated during the few minutes silence after her eulogy.   Everyone felt it was incredibly powerful, the perfect image. Some people prayed, others reflected.   Looking at it was very sad, I think there a real a mixture of emotions there, it was taken after her first operation to remove a brain tumour, when she was doing remarkably well - and rocking her new short hairdo - but she knew that the cancer would probably return.  We had got together as a family, with my brother's girlfriend's family and it was a magical weekend.  My mum's smile, positivity, supportiveness and all round loveliness are all in this image, and I found that hugely comforting.

I'm very tired, so this post by no means does the day justice, but the 24 hours themselves were an amazing tribute to my mum. 

In terms of my own pictures, I took this to capture the sea of cards that arrived before the funeral and I took one of my dad, my brother and his girlfriend, and my brother took one of me and Mr A.  We were waiting nervously for the car to pick us up, suddenly we realised how smart we looked and someone remarked that if mum had been here she would have been busy taking photos of everyone.  So we took them in her honour, but I am not sure it's right to post them.

                                                    


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26 Comments:

At 9 February 2011 at 19:22 , Blogger Mummy Mishaps aka Jenny Paulin said...

What a positive post you have dedicated to your lovely Mum's funeral. So sorry she is no longer with you. It's a beautiful photo of her and she sounds like a brave and remarkable lady. All those cads must have brought you great comfort. xx

 
At 9 February 2011 at 19:23 , Anonymous helloitsgemma said...

Beautifully written, fabulous photograph. Be proud, be very proud. X

 
At 9 February 2011 at 19:27 , Blogger SuperLittleMen said...

What a beautiful photo, her smile shows her spirit. So sorry she us no longer here, and glad yesterday was a day to celebrate her wonderful life. Take care of yourself x

 
At 9 February 2011 at 19:28 , Blogger Onykahonie said...

Hi, So sorry to hear that your mum has passed away :( Like Jenny said, she sounds like she was an amazing lady.
Thanks for sharing (((Hugs)))

 
At 9 February 2011 at 20:04 , OpenID motherporridge said...

It sounds like you celebrated her life in the way she would have wanted. Sending all my warm wishes. My mum has terminal cancer, and I hope that when the time comes we may be able to do the same for her.

Lexie
x

 
At 9 February 2011 at 20:15 , Anonymous Mymumdom said...

That's a lovely photo and a great post. Thank you for sharing them with us.

 
At 9 February 2011 at 20:49 , Blogger Laura said...

Sorry to hear such sad news, but such a beautiful post.

 
At 9 February 2011 at 21:07 , Anonymous tiddlyompompom said...

What a beautiful post. Your mum looks like a strong and beautiful woman. I am glad you celebrated her life in such a way. Look after yourself x

 
At 9 February 2011 at 22:09 , Blogger LinzW1976 said...

This post made me cry :( You write so beautifully and that is such a beautiful photo of your mum, thank you for sharing xx

 
At 9 February 2011 at 22:26 , Blogger The Moiderer said...

great timing and use of the 24hours theme. It sounds like you were able to do something amazing and remember you mother with a smile as well as a tear

 
At 9 February 2011 at 23:56 , Anonymous TheBoyandMe said...

That is a beautiful photo of your mum and a touching post. My thoughts are with you and your family, in the words of my mum, "chin up chick!"

 
At 10 February 2011 at 12:56 , Anonymous Herding Cats said...

What a beautiful post and such a beautiful picture of your mum!

 
At 10 February 2011 at 17:50 , Blogger Expat mum said...

So sorry for your loss. I so wish we could find a cure to cancer. Any cancer would be fine with me but please, hurry up.

 
At 10 February 2011 at 22:15 , Blogger podgypixiejo said...

that is a truly beautiful photo and a very moving post. Hope you're doing ok x

 
At 10 February 2011 at 22:17 , Blogger zookeeper said...

I can see the humanity in your mother's face. A lovely portrait, and she looks really well, despite the inner turmoil. We also had a humanist funeral for my father (or as far as he was concerned, as a twice-lapsed Catholic, a non-religious funeral). I chose a wicker coffin and under subterfuge took some virginia creeper from the side of a local house and covered the coffin with it (he was born in autumn, died in autumn, so the russets and deep red colours seemed appropriate). I have hardly thought about the beautiful, rustic coffin that I chose for years. I miss my Dad and just writing that - oh dear - is making me blub. I don't say it out loud very often as my mother's grief has somehow always taken predecence. Silly me. And bless you and the hard weeks ahead. It does get better. x

 
At 10 February 2011 at 23:39 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Thank you all so much for the lovely words. It's been so so helpful to talk about it here. Sorry for making Linz cry.
Lexie- I'm so sorry, keep in touch and if you ever want to talk I am here. I am off to find you on Twitter x
Zookeeper, it's all in the little things sometimes isn't it? You write so beautifully about your Dad. And hearing your accounts makes me realise loss isn't such a lonely thing after all. Keep in touch x
Bowled over ny this beautiful blogging community :)

 
At 11 February 2011 at 07:27 , Blogger Emma said...

A beautiful post, had me in tears too. So sorry for your loss. Emma

 
At 11 February 2011 at 08:05 , Blogger Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

The bit that is making me anxious about my dad's funeral next week is when the cars come to collect us and dad's coffin comes home for the last time. I have this constant knot in my stomach at the moment and am so so tired.
It's reassuring to know you found such comfort from your mum's funeral.
That's a beautiful picture of your mum. We have picked a photo of Dad when he was at work, sitting at his desk: he looks a bit serious but very handsome and my mum loves the way it shows his long fingers - so that was it!!

 
At 11 February 2011 at 10:42 , Blogger Kate said...

Beautiful.
Trish - it's funny you say that. It was only when we were all sitting staring at each other in the limo at my Dad's funeral that the gravity of it all hit home. However it is all strangely comforting. Good luck. x

 
At 11 February 2011 at 19:49 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

I agree with Kate it was strangely comforting. We had all been worrying we would be late, wondering what order to get in the car in, suggesting short cuts to avoid the roadworks. Then the funeral director knelt beside us at the car door and said 'we'll just take a minute', and it hit me. And I looked at the coffin. But that pause and the slow drive through the town we grew up in gave me chance to prepare. We went straight into the crem and straight into the service which I was grateful for. No time once we got there to think. But i felt calm.
Thinking of you x

 
At 12 February 2011 at 09:47 , OpenID rosiescribble said...

I have a huge lump in my throat. So sorry for your loss. Beautifully written.

 
At 12 February 2011 at 19:28 , Anonymous Lucy Quick said...

So sorry for your loss lovely - your Mum sounds like an amazing woman.

Hope you're doing ok xxx

 
At 12 February 2011 at 22:48 , Blogger Michelle Twin Mum said...

So glad you had a good and memorable service. Thinking of you. Mich x

 
At 13 February 2011 at 09:39 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Thank you xxx

 
At 12 April 2011 at 00:01 , Anonymous WitWitWoo said...

What a beautiful post. She sounds like a very much loved woman. We laughed and smiled a lot on the day of my Mum's funeral, after the service, but it felt natural. She would have loved to have seen us all together, swapping memories of her ... surreal, but wonderful for that brief period of time. Your mum was beautiful - I'm sure you've inherited a whole heap of what made her beautiful x

 
At 12 April 2011 at 00:17 , Blogger The Alexander Residence said...

Thank you. So glad we met. Just read about your mum too, she sounds like a wonderful person too x

 

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