During the service, after a reading of 'The Highwayman' by one of the members of Bill's beloved Poetry Society and a beautiful reading of Wordsworth's 'Daffodils' by Robyn, I managed a few final words of goodbye.
It just seems to me to be a fitting coda to her life that I reproduce those here...
"I'd like to read a short poem by Christina Rossetti
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than you should remember and be sad.
Bill led a very full, long and happy life.
I know; I knew her for a long time!
I remember, as a child, growing up in a happy home with her and my dad.
I remember after my father’s death, when Bill was about my age now, how she grew to enjoy every second of her time - spending time with her friends and those she loved, sharing holidays and adventures, painting and literature, excursions and even the occasional gin and tonic...
After their mum died, I remember the days that she spent with Robyn and Mark, helping and encouraging them to grow into the fine young people that I am so proud of today.
Even in later years, with her health deteriorating, she was always looking forward to seeing someone or doing something or going somewhere with somebody. She loved people and being with people.
Billie’s spirit, tenacity and strength of character live on in the hearts and the minds of us all.
Under other circumstances she would have been delighted to see each and every one of you today and chat to you about your news and views.
Unfortunately, she can’t be here in person to do that now.
So, on her behalf, can I ask you all to join me in celebrating the fine long life of my wonderful old mum...