Thursday, 12 November 2009

A time for reflection

My wonderful mother, Lina, passed away on Wednesday 4 November, 2009. She had celebrated her 93rd birthday two weeks before and had declared it the happiest day of her life. We are so sad to lose her but relieved that she was able to die in her own home, surrounded by her family, as she had hoped. An only child, I am truly fortunate to have my children, their partners, my extended family and good friends who have been so supportive and loving during the past difficult week.

Lina's funeral service was joyful, as she had wished in our many conversations about death, dying and funerals. As Mum had been born in Vienna, Strauss waltzes were played throughout the service, a very beautiful photographic tribute put together by my son was shown, and the congregation left the chapel to the stirring sounds of the Radetsky March. This has become a family tradition and I certainly hope it will be played at my funeral.

Discussing funerals with Mum often shocked people who thought it was a morbid subject, but to know what Mum had wanted was a real comfort in that awful time of organising and making decisions, at a time when the family is shattered and almost disbelieving that this time has really come. No matter how old or frail the loved person is, death still comes as a shock and huge loss. 

Since the funeral I've returned home to immerse myself into gardening, making books, and enjoying the exuberance of the little girls and the beautiful little red-headed boy. Gardening is great for reflection and I'm enjoying memories of my Mum and Dad. They gave me and my children wonderful guidelines to live by and we will always be grateful and never forget them.


  1. Beautifully said, Carol.

    And, yes, gardens are indeed good places for reflection and for renewal.

  2. I'm sorry for your loss. It does sound like the best way to go though, and I'm happy for you and your mother to share a good ending for her life. My father in law died a few days before her. He was a comedian and his funeral was full of laughter as well as tears.

  3. What a lovely photo, Carol. My thoughts are with you.

  4. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. How nice though that she was able to enjoy life well into her nineties.

    It makes a great difference to those who grieve if the funeral service reflects the personality of the person who died. It sounds as if you had a beautiful tribute to your mum and her life.

    I hope that you find comfort and solace in your family, your garden and the healing earth.

  5. What a joyful face. Relish your memories. Keep gardening.

  6. I'm glad you have such happy memories. You are in my prayers. Sues

  7. I'm sorry to hear of your loss, but it sounds like a lovely funeral you had.

    I'm glad you're surrounded by the next and the next generation in life, and that the garden and the books give you great pleasure.

    Our thoughts are with you.

  8. I'm sorry for your loss.
    How nice that she enjoyed her last birthday that much, and that she got to know her youngest great grandchild.
    She will live on in your memories and in the stories you are going to tell about her.
    My thoughts are with you.

  9. Hi Carol, I left a comment on mine and Book Art Object about the exhibitions. Cheers Ida

  10. kind thoughts to you carol - what a vibrant woman your mother appears to be in the lovely photo you've shared - I'm sure her passing is a great loss.

    I'm equally sure that your garden is providing a place of great healing and reflection - it always has for me


  11. Thank you all for your lovely comments and your support. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your thoughts. I am immersing myself in gardening, the harder the better, and I've discovered I love to dig. Yes Di, my garden is a great place for reflection and renewal.

  12. My mum had planned her funeral and when she died four years ago it was, as you say, "a great comfort" to know what she wanted at the time. How lovely to have Straus waltzes played - a wonderful tribute. Lesley

  13. Dear Carol I am so sorry. Your Mum looks like a real live wire. Hope you are OK. All the best, Angela.

  14. A good and peaceful death is such a gift. My mom is 86 and still dating and gardening - I hope that she will be able to die at home with loved ones around. My other close relatives were not so fortunate so I know how wonderful that would be. Sounds like you will miss her very much and my thoughts are with you.

    Thank you for your supportive comments on my blog. I don't hear much from other artists and it meant a lot to me.

  15. What a wonderful woman your mother was to turn a sad occasion into a cause for celebration. She looks so happy in the photograph, and that's the best memory of all.

    With love.

  16. Happy Christmas Carol, I hope the New Year is good for you and I hope that you feel inspired to create more lovely books!

  17. Hi Carol,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Hope to see your lovely creations soon. xo

  18. Hi Carol:

    sorry for your lost... just stopped by to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. -- In celebration of all the love around you by way of your family. I hope they continue to help you remember your parents with JOY.


  19. Dear Carol

    I'm so sorry for your loss, your mother sounds like she was a wonderful person who enjoyed life, what more can any of us ask for.

    It is not at all strange to me to discuss funeral arrangements before someone passes, I lost my own mother to a terminal illness, when I was 18. In some way we both found comfort in discussing what she would like to happen. I was comforted to know her wishes were fullfilled and it gave her some peace to be able to choose what was going to happen.

    Yor mother lives on through you, in your heart and in your memories.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Best wishes

    Billie x

  20. What a beautiful woman! I know she will live on in your heart!


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