Thursday, 23 June 2011

Francoise Helene Germaine Sherwood.

Its a sad time for my family. My mother in law Francoise died suddenly last week, the funeral is on the 23rd June. She was much loved by all and her three children, Christine, Paulette and Nigel have taken it particularly badly. Grief is somewhat of a private affair, time will undoubtedly part heal and the happy memories of Francoise will always be there. I am not a religious person but would like to share three things with you.

Firstly, my wife wrote her own thoughts to be read at the funeral. I thing they are truthful, simple and moving.


To most of you Francoise was a generous, kind friend and neighbour. To me, quite simply, she was ‘mum’.
Always there for me: my friend, my support, my confidant, my rock.
Whenever she came to visit we would wander up to the Normanton Road shops. A road dominated by ethnic shops, a never ending source of wonderful foods and amazing clothes.
Mum always had an eye for a bargain and we would regularly find coats, cardigans and jumpers that suited her. Not forgetting the purchase of naan bread, vermicelli noodles and spring rolls that turned out to be unbelievably eye wateringly spicy.
Where clothes and mum were concerned certain words spring to mind: elegant, stylish, timeless, chic. She must have despaired of me regularly looking as if I was colour blind and had just fallen out of bed.
We spoke everyday on the telephone, just before she went to bed; sometimes two or three times a day. Particularly if I was having a ‘cooking crisis’, for mum was a wonderful cook.
I will always be grateful to Christine for caring for mum so well and to everyone in the village for taking mum to their hearts.
When a friend asked Ken about mum, he simply said she was ‘a class act.’ I couldn’t have put it better myself.
There’s a hole in my heart that I don’t think will ever heal.
Love you mum.

Secondly, Francoise, unknown to her family, planned her own funeral in great detail. Including the reading from the Bible of Corinthians 13.

'If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.'

My wife, on learning of Francoise's choice of reading, looked it up in the Bible she keeps by her bedside. The Bible given to her by her mother and father on the occasion of her confirmation into the church many years ago. Look at the date written on the inside cover. The 23rd June, 1961. Fifty years to the day. Rest in peace, Francoise. Your words, your wisdom and your example to us all live on.


Ruth said...

So sorry for your loss - both of you.

Shammickite said...

The loss of a parent is the loss of the most precious love we will ever recieve. Sad news indeed. My thoughts are with you, your wife and your family.

Eleven's Ink said...

My sympathies to you and Francoise's family and everyone who knew her. She seemed wonderful.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

So sorry to read of your loss, it leaves a whole in one's heart to lose a family member. My thoughts and condolences to you both.

VioletSky said...

My condolences to you and your wife and family.

Valerie said...

This was a wonderful tribute. please accept my sincere condolences.

Sueann said...

Hugs and prayers for you both! So sorry for this loss!

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Strength to you both. The Corinthians reading is a lovely lesson and reminder from Francoise to all of us.

CWMartin said...

You and yours are in our thoughts and prayers.

Star said...

My heartfelt sympathies; I'm so sorry for your loss.

Galen Pearl said...

So sorry for your loss. A difficult life transition for kids lucky enough to have such a close relationship with their parents. She must have been a very special mum.

Mattlincs said...

A very touching post and the thoughts of a fond fellow blogger.

Annette said...

So sorry for your loss, she sounds a wonderful patient, lady.
While reading this I must admit I cried. I was overwhelmed by what your wife had written about a very special lady.
And talking about that date, what a coincidence!
Thinking of you at this time.

John Teal said...

Sorry to hear of your loss, I hope that cherished memories will see you through this saddest of times.

arizona security systems said...

A better plays is where she is heading. Be strong and im sorry to hear about your loss.

Nota Bene said...

God bless her...and my sympathies to you and all the family