……she was a lady……


This week my mother passed away and we laid her beside my father, the love of her life.   I am heartbroken; but it is not just me and my wife and my brother and sisters and their spouses; not just her adoring grandchildren and their partners and friends; nor even just the wider family circle.  The funeral started late because of the queues of those who wanted to be there, older men with tears in their eyes, women who said they had lost their best friend. A neighbour in the glens quoted Ted Hughes on the death of his father-in-law – the cattle standing “in a new emptiness”.  The formal tributes at the service were extraordinary and everyone had their own personal stories of her kindness and hospitality, her grace and encouragement, her patience and dignitiy and the quite remarkable warmth of her love.  Little children sought her out; young mothers took her as a model for their lives; grief-stricken friends, neighbours and members of the congregation quietly whispered in my ear “you’ll never know how much she helped me over the years; no-one ever will.”  For all who knew her, a light has gone out.   It was not just the meaning of her name, it was the characteristic of her life.   One phrase was on everyone lips.  Time and again, from those who had known her a life-time and had seen her deal with all manner of challenges, to those who had met her only once.  The little nurse on the ward knew her only in those last few days as she slipped away, but she said the same as those rugged hill farmers from the glens…..”she was lady”…….


18 comments on “……she was a lady……

  1. As her son, you are a tribute to her memory. I didn’t know her, but I esteem you greatly and mourn with you.

  2. Heidi Alderdice

    I’m also heartbroken. What beautiful words, John. All my love, thoughts and prayers…

  3. John and Christine Lawson

    We met this beautiful lady only once, but it was a privilege, so much so that we both feel a sadness that might be seen as disproportionate. It isn’t because she was so clearly remarkable, and John’s beautiful tribute captures the essence of what we felt on just one meeting. The world is a poorer place without her, but immeasurably better for her having been here. John and Christine

  4. Lovely, John, worthy of the best John Hewitt prose. I still miss my mother and father and think of them often. Your godson, Conor, has had a restful and happy nine day break and it’s back to The Citadel at 8am tomorrow, but it’s a short 2-3 weeks now, until before Xmas when he has about four weeks with us. Susan sends her love

  5. Ian & Catherine Crawford

    John your words are so true,everyone loved her and we will all miss her dearly what a LADY.

  6. pauline Johnston

    Well said John she was a wonderful Sister – I cannot remember a harsh word
    being spoken Love Pauline

  7. Our condolences and best wishes as you carry on. We look forward to seeing you in the spring.

  8. Helen Kindt

    Dear John, Joan and family,
    Sad to hear about Helena, never truer words were spoken. Both your parents were very kind to Walt and i when we visited all those years ago. We were made to feel so much at home in both your homes. I will be thinking of you all.


    Helen Alderdice Kindt, Australia

  9. Dear John Please accept our most sincere sympathies for the sad loss of your mother. Our thoughts are with you during your bereavement. May your faith give you all the strength needed at this time, to accept the loss and appreciate her life. Ann and David

  10. Matt Gallagher

    My deepest condolences. The wording of your tribute is truly touching. Thank you for sharing your thoughts at this time. Matt

  11. Claude Manoli

    One “loses” many things as you go on living, but losing your Mother is a heartbreak of such a fundamental nature that you never really get over. Our deepest sympathies.
    Claude and Janine

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