Rani, Pauline’s granddaughter pre-recording this reading which was shared at the ceremony via the platform Zoom
I am standing on the seashore.
A ship sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
She is an object and I stand watching her
Till at last she fades from the horizon,
And someone at my side says, “She is gone!” Gone where?
Gone from my sight, that is all;
She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her,
And just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her;
And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “She is gone”,
There are others who are watching her coming,
And other voices take up a glad shout,
“There she comes” – and that is dying.
“So it is now that day. The one you said would come. When I would have to stand here and say farewell to you, our special nan. You would talk about it and I found it hard to grasp the idea and now the reality that you would have to pass. You have been a constant, a shiny star of light. Your glamour and your laughter filled up our life. You taught us how to stand strong, upon our own two feet. To put our wall paint on, and account for our money. You showed us it was possible to be an independent woman, to have a dream and go for it. To have a special home. It was your home that joined us. To which we all would come, to share in our traditions our teddy bear biscuits and songs.
There are so many memories of which I am so fond. The childhood memories of bouncing on your knee. The adult memories of wine, baileys and coffee. I want to thank you, for all that you shared, for the time that you had for us, we knew that we were always welcome there. Thank you for the conversations, in person and on the phone. You let your love for us always be known. I feel so blessed to have known you, throughout the course of my life. These last two years have been so special, as we shared the day to day moments of our lives. The time that we spent together, alone and with my boys, will always be for me, very fond memories.
You never seemed quite to grasp your significance to us. I would try to tell you, you would say not to make a fuss. I hope that you did realize just how much you mean to me. How very much you will be missed by our whole family. Although you have now left us, you sure did make your mark. There is now an empty space deep inside our hearts. I am trying to cover it, with all my love for you. Because I know that’s what you would do.
How do we say goodbye to someone like you? So now I say goodbye, to you, our dearest Nanny Paul. We will not forget you at all.”
Devi, Pauline’s daughter, who contacted me to be their celebrant wrote,
“Wendy was a godsend to us at a time when we needed my mum, Pauline’s farewell service and celebration of her life, to be handled in a sensitive and compassionate way. Saying goodbye to mum was never going to be easy. The three generations who loved and adored her were going to need someone special who showed care for us and for mum to get through that big day and final goodbye. It had been important to mum too that she had the ‘right’ person who could tell her story in an eloquent and heartfelt way, someone who presented in a professional and caring manner.
With Wendy we hit the jackpot, with all of this and more. She definitely had all the qualities we were hoping for. Wendy was unhurried throughout as she gathered the needed information about mum’s life and especially in how she delivered the service in a relaxed and clear voice. She was flexible about how we could present mums’ story and our memories, being very encouraging for us to participate and also ready to support us wherever needed. She allowed for our tears and laughter giving permission for whatever was needed. And was quite remarkable in her ability to join us as we journeyed through mums life, with a genuine feeling for who mum was even though she had never met her there became a connection to us all and an appreciation of who mum was to all of us. I know that my mum, Pauline, would have been more than happy with our choice in Wendy and that was also important to us. I know I will not be hesitating to ring Wendy if ever the need arises or to recommend her to anyone else needing that extra special care.”