A Celebratory Farewell

We have been very comforted by the fantastic support our family and friends have extended to us since Graeme died, just over 3 weeks ago. We have received lots of flowers, condolence cards and letters and many heartening ‘phone calls. Thank you for them all and please forgive me if I do not respond to each and every written communication individually. Graeme’s funeral and wake, as the many of you who attended probably realised, was, on the whole, dictated by him and therefore an occasion to remember. It is all rather a blur now but I will always recall it as a celebration of great devoutness, thankfulness, grief, humour and love. As someone said, “Very Graeme”! I must thank again those who carried out his orders – they may have been coerced but I don’t think for this occasion much persuading was necessary.

Before Christmas Graeme fulfilled one of his ambitions when Fr Michael Kirkpatrick received him into the Roman Catholic Church, in Plymouth Cathedral where I had also been received some years previous. Although a layman he is buried dressed as a priest in some resplendent black and gold Latin vestments. These vestments were generously left to Graeme by Canon Livermore - his vicar when he was a teenage fledgling Christian. Fr Simon Beveridge, RN colleague and friend, kindly assisted the undertakers to assure Graeme was attired correctly, which he would have really appreciated.

Your donations in memory of Graeme for St Margaret’s Hospice or Cancer Research UK can still be sent to either Miles Funeral Directors or me until the end of the month. All monies will be then forwarded to the appropriate charity.

Graeme has now been laid to rest in a peaceful spot, with his bottle of Gordon’s gin, and as ever visitors will be most welcome.

And - he was right about ladies wearing hats!!!

Comments on this entry:

  1. Thank you,Fiona,for writing this farewell – it must still be so raw for you and I am inspired by your courage, as indeed we were all inspired by the fortitude and acceptance that Graeme showed during his illness.

    Graeme’s funeral was indeed ‘very Graeme’ and was a comforting mix of solomn yet funny, sad yet happy – only Graeme could have achieved that!

    I will be keeping you, as always, in my thoughts and prayers over the coming months and if we find ourselves in Somerset (which we may well do as I have a cousin in Yeovil and friends in Mere) will naturally ‘visit’ Graeme and if you would like it, you too. I am always conscious that we don’t know each other very well and I would hate to intrude, so will be led by you.

    For now, God bless and love

    — Heather · Thursday 18 June, 2009 · #

  2. Fiona,

    How thrilled Graeme would/will be by Martin and Smita’s news. Please give them our congratulations and best wishes for their future life together.

    Our day with you was memorable in so many ways and as has been said so “Graeme” I am so glad we were able to be with Graeme and yourself in December at the Cathedral, it completed the circle for me when I was in the same place with you all those years ago.

    Ed Devenney who we brought up and who helped Michael K-P has also come up trumps with his AIB, as no doubt Michael may have told you. Graeme will be looking down on him and telling him to get on with all that will now be in store for him.

    Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you all.

    Love & God Bless

    Nancy & David

    — Nancy & David Hill · Monday 22 June, 2009 · #