Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cliff's Eulogy - please scroll down and click on each image to read

Thinking back, it was only a couple of days after Cliff died that I decided to write his Eulogy & Order of Service myself. More than a couple of people took big gulps and said, "but you're not going to read it out loud yourself are you?" Even as insanity was reaching out to grasp me in its claws, I knew my own limits, thankfully.

And so, for two solid days, I locked myself away in Jenny's office. She would come in to empty the ashtray and light another candle every couple of hours. She would come in to bring me more tea. She would come in to try and coax me to have a break and failed miserably. But when she came in to tell me I had to eat dinner, she wasn't asking ... and I knew it. Like I said, I knew own my limits.

At the time I was almost OCD-like in my behaviour. I only wanted one particular florist to arrange the wreath for the coffin, because she was Cliff's friend's sister and I didn't want someone else touching roses ... that were going to touch the coffin ... which therefore touched him, if they were't connected to us. I didn't want anyone touching/viewing him (unless they were very close to him) and two of his pallbearers in particular literally took charge of liaising with the undertaker to give or decline permission as to whether people could view his body on a case by case basis because I was FREAKING OUT. BIG STYLE. I wanted to protect him, even though he was beyond protecting. All I could think was, THIS IS THE LAST THING I CAN DO FOR HIM ... and I have to do it right. It has to be PERFECT ... like him. I approached the organization of the funeral as though I was project managing, and that worked fairly well I suppose. Lists, and more lists. Hell, I was even delegating, and as for micro-managing, let's not even go there. Vicki and I took turns reading the Eulogy out loud (she would take my place reading every time my voice broke) whilst Bobert stood there with a stopwatch. Yes, a stopwatch. "It has to be 34 minutes," I can remember fretting to them.

I love them all for many reasons, but today, mainly because they allowed me to be like this. They gave me permission to do whatever I needed to do ... just to help me get through those initial days ... when the shock, horror and pain was so dreadful that it honestly distresses me so much to remember, so I don't (very often).

Why am I talking about this today? Well, I felt ready to share that Eulogy ... written for the kindest, sweetest, gentlest man I ever knew. My beautiful husband.

(I'll upload the music and colour photos later).


  1. thank you for emailing this to me. it is a poignant and fitting tribute to your husband.

  2. Thanks womanNshadows, by the time you have finished the quilt, I think you will actually feel like you knew him :-) HUGS xx

  3. Boo that was touching, it made me laugh and cry. He sounded like such a wonderful man. I love the choice of songs and the dragonfly story at the end.

    Neal was catholic but not one who attended church, we wanted the funeral to have a touch of him but the Minister would only have it a certain way so we changed churches and ministers (imagine an anglican minister giving the service in a pentecostal church, and we played his favorite band, the Clash).

    It amazes me that you did this by yoursef! You gave a wonderful tribute, thanks for sharing

  4. CarrieBoo, Neal's funeral sounds like it was conducted the way it should have been ... it's good that you changed churches. Sometimes you can go to a funeral and it's like they are talking about someone else, not the person that you knew and loved, and that in itself is incredibly upsetting.

    The dragonfly story gives me comfort everytime I read it. A couple of kids were coming to the service, so I included it for them, and for his grand-daughter, as it was written to help children understand the concept of death. xx

  5. Boo, thank you for posting this, it was beautiful. Such lovely words, you can feel the love in every one. I was fine until I saw the picture of the viking ship, then I completely lost it!

  6. J - thanks so much, it means a lot to me. When I feel a bit panicky, I tend to read through this as it reminds me just how wonderful he was (is) and somehow it helps (a tiny bit). Sorry you lost it, it's amazing how a visual can do that to you in a nano-second because it can say so much, can't it? We actually played the viking horns soundbyte (from the film The Vikings) on the day ... it's haunting, evocative of another millenia, but entirely appropriate for my Cliffy :-)

  7. This was very touching and wonderfully put together. I feel like I know Cliff even more now.

    Hope you are doing well!!! ((HUGS))

  8. L - I like that. It's like you can still get to know him, just in a different way :-)