Eulogy for Ima

Our amazing Mum, Orna, passed away on Monday morning after her year long battle with Cancer. She left us peacefully and in no pain with her family around her. This is a Eulogy I wrote for her, which I read at her funeral.

I started writing this a few weeks ago, I have to be honest I have no idea what to say, not because I have nothing to say, but because I have everything to say.

I never thought I would have to stand here again so soon after the last time I was standing here for Dad.

Strength is just a word, that really means nothing until you see it in action. Until you see a person face down threats in incredible circumstances quietly, confidently, and with purpose.

We’re so proud of our amazing Mum, who fought so hard for others, for us and for herself, for so long. She stubbornly clung on, probably arguing with ‘them upstairs’ to let her in, finally winning that battle yesterday morning. They have no idea what’s about to hit them….

Having organised everyone else the rest of her life, it’s only right the last thing she organised was her own finality in her own way, and she did so with grace, determination and chutzpah.

The last year has been tough and painful, but I can only think of the things she made us laugh about, however stupid.

She was determined to go in her own way in her own style, with as little pain for herself and everyone else. I’ll never forget the face that she made last week when the ambulance men who took her to the hospice, asked her whether she wanted to be carried out in a wheelchair or a stretcher. She eventually opted for a wheelchair, but I can’t repeat what she muttered under her breath.

She handled the inevitable, with dark humour, practicality and incredible foresight. Last month I ordered a free meerkat toy on compare the market website whilst renewing my car insurance. I asked mum whether she wanted it. “No, what do I need that for?” “It’s free.” “Oh, okay” I got an email back saying it would take 1-3 months to arrive. “Oh, that’s no good” she said. “I’ll be dead by then, Selina [my sister] can have it.” You’ll never guess what arrived in the post yesterday morning…

A week ago, in what we think now was probably a failed attempt to escape her hospice bed, she started to get up off the bed and said to the attending nurse “Y’allah, what are we doing?” The poor man said “with respect to what, Orna?” “Well, am I staying here or not? I have to be home in an hour”. He explained to her she wasn’t well enough to go home yet, but this didn’t deter her shuffling forward on the bed, only stopping when she ran out of energy.

Funny things popped into my head the last few weeks, things that I’ll miss greatly.

She would be the only person to “like” anything I posted on my Facebook fan page for my business. Treating the “like” button as an “I’ve read this” button.

The way she insisted on driving at 20mph on a 50mph road.

Her expert views on what she thought of each candidate on “The Apprentice” TV programme, which, again aren’t repeatable here.

The way she mispronounced things like “mugpies” [magpies] and “obogines” [aubergines].

Constantly asking where we were and what time we were coming home, insisting that she had to lock the front door, which we said wasn’t a massive issue because we all had keys to that front door, and were able to unlock it at any given time. She insisted that she had to know because she wanted to go to bed, which we knew was a lie because she rarely went to sleep.

Her smile, her knowing look and the raised eyebrow which said she knew you’d done something naughty!

Always the first one awake and the last to go to sleep, she always had the scoop on everyone and everything.

She meant so much to so many people, she always left an impression. We’re humbled by the support that she has received and we in turn have received. She has been described as a trailblazer, someone who showed so many people the way, this is her gift that we are proud to receive.

She had passion, faith, intelligence and creativity; she was unnecessarily loud, practical, grounded, a fighter, incredibly stubborn and insisted on being absolutely right at all times, even when she wasn’t. I’m thankful, for these are the building blocks given to us, foundations to be grateful for, values that drive us forward every day, values that kept her going for the last year.

Strength is just a word that really means nothing, until you see it in action. Until you see people face down threats in incredible circumstances quietly, confidently, and with purpose.

Ima, you were our strength, you held our hands when we came into the world, and we held yours when you left it.

You shone brightly to show us the way.

Keep shining always.


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