5 months on from Mums passing and it is still hard to come to terms with the loss. We are slowly getting Mum & Dads house ready for sale and the process is bringing back many happy memories and reminding us of all that Mum & Dad did, not just for us but many other people as well. They both lived very full and purposeful lives. We have wonderful reminders of Dad in the well crafted furniture he made and examples of Mums excellent Knitting and Sewing together with Patterns and Material for future projects. We also have the financial ledgers Mum kept when we were young and money was short which helped her ensure that we could afford some memorable holidays. I do not recall one bad holiday, thanks to Mums attitude that whatever set backs we may encounter, be it bad weather or problems with the accommodation, we should do our best to enjoy ourselves.
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ElizabethBlesma The Limbless Veterans
In loving memory of Elizabeth Living who sadly passed away on 21st January 2019
The following Eulogy was read at the Funeral Service on behalf of David, John, Jean and Ruth
As our father once said “How can one describe and do justice to one’s mother? An impossible task”. We will try.
Mum was the youngest of three children and in her early years lived above her parent’s newsagents in Stepney. Her parents both worked very hard in the shop and when her father died, when mum was only 10, she felt she only knew him with a child's eye. One clear memory of him was he taught her how hard it was to earn the money needed to pay for something she wanted. Her family was better off financially than most but the 1930's were hard years. Despite this Mum always spoke of a happy childhood with loving parents and she got on well with her sister Connie and brother Bill. Mum loved school and she particularly excelled at Arithmetic. She was the only girl in her class to pass the 11 plus and was awarded a scholarship. When mum was at High school she really enjoyed History and was given the chance to investigate any subject she liked, most girls chose the history of fashion, mum chose the history of Maths! Her love of maths remained throughout her life, she successfully coached neighbours children and on one occasion ended up keeping score for Dads cricket team. Mum didn’t know much about cricket but she soon worked it out. At the end of her life mum seemed to have few regrets but she did regret throwing her maths books away. She was proud that she could solve missing number puzzles better than her clever brother and told us of the joy of solving algebraic equations! After the war while working full-time (at the Bureau of Abstracts, Lyons Laboratories and briefly at London Zoo (where mum broke the fridge by placing hot plates inside) she studied for a degree at evening classes. She went to Acton Technical College riding pillion on her brothers motor bike. Mum studied Pure maths, applied maths and physics.
Mum loved the Theatre and cinema. For her child hood birthday parties her mum would organize trips to see Shirley Temple or Fred Astaire films. Later she loved any film with Bette Davies or Leslie Howard. Before she was married she would frequently go to the theatre with her mum and she would race ahead and get seats for them both in the gods. Mums first date with our Dad was to see The Love of Four Colonels with Peter Ustinov.
Mum loved reading and she felt very lucky that as a child she was able to read the magazines from the shop as long as she returned them in pristine condition. In her 80’s mum suffered macular degeneration. Not being able to read was a real blow but she did listen to lots of story tapes to compensate.
Mum's mother passed on to her a love of sewing and knitting, together they would listen to plays on the radio and knit. As children we were always wearing dresses or jumpers made by mum and she would make evening gowns for herself and Arrans for dad. Mum was always busy.
Mum made good friends. In her 90’s she still kept in contact with school friends and work colleagues. For 60 years mum wrote to old friends such as Jean Robertson and Jean Francis. Locally she made friends with Sylvia. They met every week on a Wednesday as frequently as they could for 55 years. They went on outings together like the Chelsea flower show and shared lots of laughs.
Looking back at mums life we are struck by how resilient she was. She suffered many setbacks. She was a Nestles Milk baby, as she could not tolerate any other type and also survived Scarlet Fever. She was 11 when the Second World War broke out and she was evacuated to two different families. She was in London on and off during the blitz, narrowly missing danger on several occasions. Both her much loved brother and brother in law were away during the war. She broke her leg when she was 88 but managed, with the help of the Physio Mark, to regain much of her strength and balance, for which she was very grateful. With grit and determination and lots of support from kind neighbours and family mum managed to stay in her own home which is what she wanted. After a brief illness Mum died in hospital and was completing word puzzles, listening to favourite music and reminiscing days before she died. We were glad that our cousin Christopher was able to visit mum during this time.
Family was the most important part of mums life. She valued the Brendlings, The Dawes, The Foots, The Livings, The Mitchells, The Sherrys and the Warrells - she invited them all to our house. Also when our Dads Father needed a home at the end of his life she welcomed him to Tudor Way. Mum married Dad in 1952 and together they built a home based on love and mutual respect. They rarely spent time apart and genuinely shared the same goals and values. Losing Dad in 2015 after 63 years of marriage was heart breaking and she missed him every day. When mum married Dad she became step mum to David, who was only 3, and she lovingly brought him up. Mum always wanted 4 children and that’s what she had. All of us children are very different but she knew our hopes and dreams for the future and she always supported us and helped put things in perspective.
Mum and Dad both loved being grandparents and before Rachel and Ben went to school would look after them on a regular basis. It was a lovely period in their lives and Rachel and Ben both have special memories of that time.
Today we like to think of mum reunited with Dad in heaven. Dad will be delighted to see her and his next words will be "Sit down Bette lets have tea" His gain is our loss because we all miss her dreadfully but we do have the comfort that she led a long fulfilled life and left behind her a family who had her loving guidance all their lives.
We, her family, would like to thank everyone who has come today to say goodbye to Betty Living.