Head bowed, with gravity dispersing tears across a cold stone floor, I strolled slowly behind my equally distraught offspring headed out of the crematorium door. The events playing out as they, me and a host of other family and friends (while stood a foot or so from her coffin) had just bode a final farewell to Margaret Ann Strachan.
The scenes soundscape an instrumental version of John Williams’ enchanting tune Cavatina. The same aural accompaniment which played out on an Apple playlist seconds after her final breath.
The crem ceremony taking place after a well attended funeral service where a church congregation’d joined together celebrating my recently deceased mother’s life. The gathering taking place in the local village kirk where we thanked god for affording us opportunity to’ve had this beautiful person touch our lives.
The familial entrance into church was marked by each of us placing a single white rose atop her coffin. The adding of this floral symbol of her beloved county a small but poignant tribute for our stricken mother.
At the church, crematorium and latter wake, the thongs unanimous opinion was Irrespective of how long you knew Maggie she’d unfailingly leave an indelible mark with her warmth and generosity of spirit.
My sister Helen orated mum’s eulogy. My youngest sibling paying a wonderful tribute to our familial matriarch in front of the people gathered in respect of our beloved mother. It was a truly beautiful piece; emotive, reverential, inclusive of both family and loved ones. The monologue also incorporating soupçons of wonderful humour mum bestowed upon an always appreciative audience. A crowd who’d always want an encore.
As I’ve not asked our Helen’s permission, or indeed in possession of the eulogies final draft, I’m unable to share the words with which my sis captivated the congregation. Individuals who were so moved and awestruck by her 20-25 minute narrative they afforded her a round of applause at its denouement. If I do ever receive that consent, though, I’d feel privileged to share H’s words with a wider audience.
Footnote – To clarify, H is my sister Helen….. No words of tribute were forthcoming from the pop group Steps’ singer Ian ‘H’ Watkins, who (as far as I know) never met my mum….. If he had’ve, though, I’d wager he’d have loved her…… Unless of course he asked her opinion on Steps creative output, a jeopardous move that’d potentially lead to a response irking him. Maybe irreparably tainting their relationship.
To add further kudos to Helen’s delivery, prevailing personal and logistical issues meant departure time for her drive over from Cheshire was later than she’d liked. Consequently, she was only one severe M62 traffic incident from being unable to make it to the church in time to deliver it. Mercifully, the contraflow gods (James May and Richard Hammond) shone on my youngest sibling and she arrived in East Ardsley with plenty of time to spare.
During the church service, I delivered an enchanting poem written by my brother Ian. Words which I wish I could claim to be my intellectual property, but aren’t. The locutions instead coming from the quill of Maggie’s middle offspring.
Our kid’s prose relating to those final moments of serenity in the West Yorkshire care home as Ian, Helen and me watched our mother take her final breath. The words I read on Ian’s behalf were as follows:-
A Beautiful Last Dance – Written by IC Strachan
An afterglow, a celestial presence, your last waltz; a wondrous soul runs forth through scenes of your life, through a diminishing light to find home.
As tranquillity reigns and the horizon is banished and the first waking bird doth crow, it is time for you to leave us now, I know. You smile and let go.
A beautiful sunrise ensues, pale colours that weave are increasingly bold, a breeze through the leaves bows down before you, an angel in ethereal clothes.
An ache that is all consuming, the inspiration and strength you gave already blooming in a galaxy of hearts, a sea of tales and a thousand stars.
I know I will find you in every crack and corner, I will feel you in every thought and in every golden song. Mother you are with me always and in you I will always be strong.