Saturday, May 05, 2012

Jean Alaithia Lennon 1921-2012

(I wanted to post what I said at her memorial service as a tribute to my mum, who died peacefully, in her sleep.  Just as it should be.)

The church is full of stories this morning.  Jean generated stories.
Over the past few days, so many people have been coming up to us to say, lovingly, how sorry they are and how sudden it has been and then, they’d tell a story about when they met Jean first or spoke with her last and there she would be – herself – vivid and relentless and indomitable - and laughing.  All those people and all of us here – we all share so many stories and in so many of them, she is laughing.

She had pain and disability and growing dementia, and sometimes she was anxious, and sometimes she was sad, but she did not choose to embrace those things.  She did not choose to let them define her.

They say you carry your parents on your shoulders your whole life.  Certainly, I know that every time I don’t scrape out a jar carefully enough, I am aware of my mum.  But that isn’t really her legacy.

She left us an inheritance – an expectation – a call to be vivid, to take delight and indignation in both hands – to choose not to be pale or cautious or mealy-mouthed, but to get right up in the face of power and speak truth to it till its pips squeak.  To notice the sky.  To cultivate the fine art of silliness.  To live vividly.  To leave, as she did, definite footprints on the shore.


At 4:26 AM, Blogger Penny Dolan said...

What a wonderful inheritance! She sounds a remarkable person. Thank you for posting this tribute to her and letting others share the words.

"Carrying your parents on your shoulders all your life" I had never heard that before but recognise the meaning.

At 5:20 AM, Blogger Nicole said...

I'm sorry to hear she passed away, she must have been a really lovely person. My thoughts are with you and your family.

At 5:37 AM, Blogger Linda Strachan said...

Lovely. Thank you for sharing this, Joan.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Sue Purkiss said...

A really lovely piece. Well done for managing to read it out loud.

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Mavis said...

Thank you for sharing this lovely tribute to your mum. It's an awful wrench when one loses one's parents but you seem to have lots of lovely memories, and they will never leave you.

At 3:33 AM, Blogger Enid Richemont said...

What a wonderful woman she must have been. Your tribute is so beautiful and moving - thank you for sharing it. XX

At 10:51 AM, Blogger Lindsey Fraser said...

That's a beautifully constructed piece, Joan. And I see where the 'I can do that!' comes from.


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