Mum’s name has now been added to the gravestone, along with an introduction, “In loving memory of…”
We also added some context to the years, although without the ’19…’ I doubt that people would have thought that Dad was a time-traveller born in 1845 who married a woman in the following century, but it immediately clarifies things.
I like the Scottish tradition of using the wife’s maiden name.
In a way, it feels good to see them together again after so many years without Dad.
Last month, while clearing out Mum’s flat I came across this tatty old thing, the kitchen sink (model 1.024) from my younger sister’s old Caroline’s Home doll’s house.
You know the saying “everything but the kitchen sink”, that means “nearly everything one can reasonably imagine; many different things, often to the point of excess or redundancy”? Lots of people used to say that about my late Mum’s handbag. She kept a lot of things in it.
“Blimey! Rosalie, you have everything in there except the kitchen sink,” they’d laugh.
And my mum would rummage at the bottom of her handback and proudly produce this old thing.
“Actually,” she would counter, “I do have the kitchen sink in here.”
But it served a purpose other than just a comic retort. Behind the tiny cupboard doors, which over time broke and were repeatedly taped together with masking tape, Mum kept three ten pence pieces—the right amount of money to get her into most public toilets in an emergency.
That’s the kind of practicality that I admired about my mum.
One of the items that I inherited after Mum died was her old laptop, an Asus X551CA that I bought her for Christmas 2013. This month I replaced the battery, upgraded the hard drive and installed Linux.
On Thursday 6 August, two days after her 81st birthday my beautiful Mum, Rosalie Jean Saunders was found dead at home.
She had had an amazing birthday, she felt so blessed by people’s love and kindness. She had her hair dyed pink in celebration. Two days later, it appears that her heart gave out, but oh! what a heart she had.
The last two weeks have been a roller coaster of emotion. Most days when folks have asked me how I am, I’ve said that I’ve been like a typical day of Scottish weather: I’ve had a bit of everything.
Today, restricted by Covid-19 guidelines, a few family and friends gathered in the church grounds at St John the Evangelist, Selkirk (Mum’s spiritual home since 1974) and then in the Auld Kirk Yard to give thanks for the life of Mum and commit her to God’s keeping.
Mum was buried in a family grave, alongside my father.
My sister, brother and I worked collaboratively on her eulogy (below) using notes that she had left herself (thanks Mum, they were really helpful!). Mum left a lot of papers and writings and photographs which we will go through over the next few weeks, months, years and I’d like to compile them into a book to remember Mum by. But that is for another day.
Today we rejoiced for her life, her love, her faith in the God she adored.