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PaulineWoodlands Hospice Charitable Trust
In loving memory of Pauline Dowling, who sadly passed away on Thursday 16th May 2019, aged 66 years.
A Celebration of her Life
19th March 1953 to 16th May 2019
Humanist Funeral Ceremony 28th May 2019 Springwood Crematorium
Humanist UK accredited Celebrant: Nett (Annette) Furley, 07771595626, nett.furley@
Music to enter: Kodo Drummer
We are here to mark the death and celebrate the life of Pauline Dowling. A generous, caring, peaceful woman, who was loved by many. Pauline understood that life is precious and that it is important that we live it well. This is why she chose to have a Humanist Ceremony.
My name is Nett and I am a Celebrant accredited by Humanists UK. I will be guiding you through today’s ceremony. We will hear something of who Pauline was and listen to three poems chosen, by her, for today’s ceremony. We will reflect to some of her favourite music and have the opportunity to symbolically say goodbye to her.
Today is a sad occasion as on 16th May 2019 Pauline died, peacefully in her own bed. She was 66 years old. Whatever your relationship with Pauline, you have left your daily routines to acknowledge the thoughts and feelings that can sometimes be experienced when we are saddened by death. You all share something on this occasion, maybe you are facing the emptiness which comes from separation or are acknowledging the gap there will be in your lives.
Maya Angelou wrote “It is healthy and honourable to weep at the loss of someone we love.
Healthy because such passion must be released. Honourable because it is respectful to admit the importance of people who have loved and supported us…
People whose footprints can never be matched.”
But sadness is probably not the only emotion you will have. You have all been touched by the life of Pauline, so remember her with kindness, with warmth, with fond memories, with love and affection, and above all with gratitude for what knowing Pauline has brought to your lives. After all Pauline said that she wanted a ceremony that is joyous and a celebration of her life.
Life and death are part of the natural cycle. When we die, we become part of the world around us. We live on through nature and our death enables other things to live. Knowing we will all die can help us focus on and enjoy being alive. It can encourage us to be happy and to share happiness with others. Our individual achievements, and the recollections of those who know us, ensure that we live on through them.
I said that Pauline had chosen three poems for today, so let’s start this ceremony with one of them; Christine Rosetti’s ‘When I come to the end of the road’
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not for long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that once we shared
Miss me, but let me go.
We will spend some time recalling the life of Pauline and who she was. This, while remembering though, that no one person can sum up another life. Life is too precious to be passed over with mere words. Rather, it must remain as it is remembered by those who loved and witnessed and shared. For such memories are alive and the living memories we possess are the greatest gift one person can give another. The following has been gathered from recollections of Pauline’s family and friends.
Pauline was born on 19th March 1953 to James and Mary. She grew up in Dingle in Liverpool with her younger brother Jimmy. Although she was known as the goody, goody of the two, never-the-less, they managed to get up to all sorts of mischief while walking down on the shore, amusing themselves on the tip or drawing tennis courts on the pavement in chalk. At the age of 16 Pauline left school to train as a Lab Technician at Mabel Fletcher Tech. This is where she met her lifelong friend Midge, who has been a significant person in her life since. She was fortunate enough to leave Tech and walk into her first job at the age of 18 - the start of a long career as a Laboratory Technician. It was a job she really enjoyed, whether it was at Belvedere School where she stayed for many years, or working at West Derby School in Liverpool or her final role at Shorefields School, before she retired at the age of 63. She was a very skilled Technician by all accounts, helped by the fact that she loved it and was able to develop her skills along the way.
So, what was Pauline interested in? She was someone who loved to learn new skills and knowledge and who had a passion for a diverse range of things: When she was a child her Dad, who she was very close to, bought her a train set (as he had always wanted a boy), and so maybe it was no surprise that she always loved steam trains. She enjoyed music and although learning the clarinet only developed as far as her learning to play Strangers on the Shore, her love of music grew. She was especially passionate about opera, but also liked Harry Nilssen, Elaine Page, Barbara Dickson, all things Gershwin, to name a few. And of course, both hers and Jess’s favourites - the Beach Boys.
Pauline only interrupted her career as a Lab Tech once and that was to study Horticulture for a year. A passion she decided to feed and which provided her with a detailed knowledge of all things green. She could recite all plant names in Latin and her new gained knowledge, combined with her instinctive green fingers, meant she created a beautiful garden and became the queen of growing orchids. She loved to travel and had many a story to tell of holidays with her friends or Malcolm. It might have been the holiday to Paris to see the Kodo Drummers – another of her passions, with Catherine (her very close friend, likened to a twin sister since childhood); Or the trip to Venice with her friend Midge, or her last Thelma and Louise holiday with Catherine to the north east. It may have been a trip on a canal boat with her father, Jess, cousin Helen and other members of her family or one of the many trips to Normandy in France, Scotland or Ireland with Malcolm. Many of her trips combined an enjoyment of travelling with another of her interests, for instance a holiday to China to practise Tai Chi (something she was very good at) or a trip to Stratford to indulge in Shakespeare. Malcom and her often chose their holiday destination because of its quaintness or quirkiness, for instance their favourite place was Biggin Hill, which fondly became known as Fawlty Towers because of its absurdness. They also liked to visit Cathedrals and saw a great number, as well as Lighthouses, which she had an affection for.
What else did she like? Reading, whether it was Harry Potter or Game of Thrones or her favourite, historical novels. Also, embroidery – something she was extremely good at and so was able to create beautiful pieces, such as the pictures she made when her nieces, nephews and children of friends were born – and which they still have and treasure, or the blanket for her great nephew Jamie. In fact, most of her friends and family have at least one of her creations. A more recently acquired skill was learning Origami and after teaching herself to make things on you-tube, she deliberately set about making gifts for her family and friends.
Pauline loved animals, especially cats, and she always had at least one as a pet; not only her own, but also other people’s cats, which she seemed to adopt. I am told she wrote beautifully, not only in the words she used in the poetry she wrote, but also in the way it was presented, able to write in Calligraphy from an early age.
She loved Bubbles – hence the display to greet her casket today. She felt they were like signs of life and such fun. She even tried to create the perfect formula for them in her lab. She was a talented cook, a skill she developed after marrying Malcolm in 1972. She was especially good at baking cakes and patties, which, by the way, got everyone drooling as they were describing them to me. She liked to create new recipes, often watching you-tube videos and then recreating the dish with her own little twist and she enjoyed learning how to make the Guyanese dishes in honour of Malcolm’s background. The last meal she cooked a couple of months ago was Metemgee, a Guyanese Creole stew type dish. Malcolm says it was the best meal she ever cooked, which would have pleased her, as I am told she thought the world of him and would have done anything to please him.
So, what sort of person was Pauline? She loved people and people loved her. She could easily chat to anyone. One example of this is when she and Jess were out and saw a queue, which they promptly joined for a couple of hours. They had no idea what the queue was for, but just felt it looked like fun and got chatting with people already in it. When it came near to the front, they had enjoyed the other people’s company so much they went off somewhere else together. They never did find out what the queue was for, it was the people in it who mattered.
Two people who mattered to Pauline, but who couldn’t be with us today are Norman and Ann. Catherine will read a message from them
"Pauline was a loving, kind-hearted soul who cared deeply for her family and friends. Towards those she knew, she was loyal and true right to the end. We enjoyed some special holiday times together in Canada at Christmas 2016 and in the summer of 2017. Pauline you will be missed by both of us and our daughters Nicole and Christine."
Many of her adventures were with Jess, an aunt who was like a sister to her and, who she got into all sorts of mischief with. Pauline liked a bit of mischief, she had a great sense of humour and lived for fun. Jess and her were like two school girls when they got together. The main things that people have said about Pauline though are that: she was kind and caring, selfless and generous, soft and gentle, a genuinely nice person. You have described her as ‘one in a million, as unique, as someone who was peaceful and made people feel safe. She made things special and perhaps this is why she was so loved.
Some of you will know that Pauline has written poetry since her childhood. An activity of choice for many a night together with Catherine and Midge, as they recited their own poems to each other. She didn’t write much for many years, but after she was diagnosed with Cancer in 2013, she turned to it again. As a woman who didn’t swear – or if she did it made people laugh, because it didn’t sound right coming from her lips, writing poetry seemed to allow her to express with more vigour and explicitly what she was feeling. She asked that one of her poems called LMC Visitors (standing for Linda McCarthy Centre) be shared with you today. It’s was written in 2017 and is one of the politer ones. Her brother Jimmy will read it to us.
We stroll in for treatment
With our ‘tablets’ and books
Some come with Knitting
Others crochet and hooks.
We chat to companions
Have a giggle and a laugh
Some bring in a picnic
To have on their lap.
You can snooze in the corner
Or listen to Jazz
Quizzes, crosswords, Sudoku,
So, what’s in your bag?
Soup and a roll
All help to pass time
‘till we head for home.
Some visits are brief
Others are a long haul
Then we bid you farewell
Till we get the next call.
(Pauline Dowling, April 2017)
We know that Pauline loved music. No surprise then that she chose this song for us to listen to today. She wanted you to remember her through one of her favourite pieces – The Humming Chorus from Madame Butterfly. This is one of the first operas she went to see and she said that she was mesmerised by this song. Maybe use this time to remember the Pauline you knew and to think of the words you will use to say goodbye
Reflection Music: The Humming Chorus – Puccini's Madama Butterfly
Let’s now hear a poem written and read by Midge for her close friend
Friday night I dreamt that Pauline was still in her bed,
And she moved her arm and then she moved her head.
And I was saying – 'Look she's not dead after all –
She's just moved – we were mistaken –
She's not dead after all...'
And when I woke up and knew it was a dream,
And it wasn't real – the thing I'd seen,
I felt that maybe Pauline was telling us it was all fine
And into my head there came a line
From the poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye –
'I am not there; I did not die.'
And this is the quote –
‘Into the freedom of wind and sunshine,
We let you go.
Into the dance of stars and planets,
We let you go.
We love you,
We miss you,
We want you to be happy,
Go safely, go dancing, go running home’.
All living things are subject to death; it is the basis of our growth; it is in the order of things; it belongs to the life of the world. All living things that have a beginning have an end.
You are now going to say your final goodbyes to the physical existence that was Pauline, with love, with honour and with respect.
Our energy does not die, no energy gets created in the universe, and none is lost; all our energy, every vibration, every bit of heat, every wave of every particle that we are, stays in this world. All the photons that ever bounced off Pauline’s face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by her smile, by the touch of her hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off, their ways forever changed by her. Pauline’s energy will go on forever and is still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of her is gone. Adapted from words of the Physicist, Writer and Performer, Aaron Freemen
Here in this last act, in the name of those she loved and who loved her, in sorrow but without fear, you have committed her body to its new energy and her memory to your hearts, as you have said your final goodbye to Pauline.
Pauline Dowling, your family and friends will remember you.
We have been remembering Pauline with love and respect. This loving, caring, generous, joyful woman, who was loved by you all. Rejoice that she lived and that you shared the journey of her life, cherish her love for you, remember the sound of her wisdom, treasure all the memories you have of her.
Which brings us to the last of the three poems that Pauline chose for today. Pauline’s cousin Helen will read. If I should go by Joyce Grenfell
If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone
Nor when I'm gone speak in a Sunday voice
But be the usual selves that I have known
Weep if you must
Parting is hell
But life goes on
So, sing as well
After today’s ceremony Pauline’s family invite you all to Frederiks in Hope Street, near the Philharmonic Hall, to continue to share some of those precious memories you have of her. And if any of you would like to make a donation in Pauline’s name, there is a box at the back for collections for Woodlands Hospice, who supported Pauline when she most needed it. It is the charity that she chose donations to be made to.
Pauline’s life has been like a tapestry into which you are all woven. This tapestry is made up of many threads of memories which, no matter how time passes, will always remain somewhere in your hearts, safely stored to be accessed when you need them. “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” (Helen Keller, Social Campaigner)
As we know Pauline liked to party and have fun. One of the times when she especially had fun was while dancing to this tune, which we will now leave to. It will bring a smile to your face as Pauline would have liked. Yes, its Patricia the Stripper by Chris de Burgh.
Music to leave to: Patricia the Stripper by Chris de Burgh.