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.