My Mum: The Eulogy

Some people can’t help making a difference in our lives simply by being who they are. They make our world brighter and warmer and a lot more interesting. And when they’re gone we realise just how lucky we are to have known them.

Welcome to you all here today. We come shocked and saddened at the unexpected death of Caryl, she was such a vibrant woman and so dearly loved by you all. Dave, her girls, all the family and her many close friends. She managed somehow to touch you lives on so many different levels and you always smiled when you were in her company. Caryl had that effect she was bright and shining, kind and caring, and clever but ditsy too; she was Caryl spelt with a Y… she was special.

So today although there will be great sorrow to lose her and tears will be shed in rivers there is also an opportunity to say to her… thank you for your life – the time you had with us was very precious. We will celebrate her life today in a way that Caryl would like best… a bit of Take That music, lots of smiles and laughter here and also at her After Match Party at the Sir Bobby Robson suite after the service where you of course must come along and raise a glass to this beautiful woman.

To commence the service and set the tone, her dear friend Mike is going to read a lovely poem entitled afterglow:

“I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one. I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when day is done. And I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways. Of happy times, and laughing times, and bright sunny days. And I’d like the tears of you who grieve to dry before the sun. Of happy memories that I leave behind when my life is gone.”

Now let’s remember Caryl…

Her childhood started in the Gosforth area, brought up with her brother Ian. She was bright and happy and made a lot of friends. She kept her friends, Marg, a childhood friend who moved to America always kept in touch and their families visited each other over the years. When Caryl was 8 her fathers career took them down to Doncaster and she adapted really well… even got a bit of a Yorkshire accent, which she lost; as you all know Caryl spoke beautifully. She and her brother were close; they could fight like cat and dog, but they had a bond. Ian used to wait for her when he’d finish infants and she juniors to walk home with her. What do you want? She’d say. To walk home with you – come on then! Caryl was quite the epitome of a Blue Peter badge holder which of course she had, she ran the Famous Five club the lone pine club… ever the organiser.

She was a great runner and athlete but the idea of taking it past county level didn’t appeal to her and so as she was leading the race at Doncaster Grammar and her parents were cheering her over the finish line she looked over her shoulder at the runners behind and let them pass her letting someone else win.

She was bright and bonny and everyone liked her and when the family moved to Barrow she fitted in there too – she was very easy to like and always up for fun. She’s met David in Barrow – 1978 he had hair. He must have been smitten, he let her pierce his ear with a farming needle and ice cubes. This won’t hurt a bit! They were part of a great set of friends and boy did they have some fun; a gathering of pals when her parents were out ended in a game of hide and seek. Snotty – one of the lads – found a brilliant spot to hide in the loft but he was found quite quickly as he came crashing through Ian’s bedroom ceiling.

It was a wonder her parents ever went away again leaving Caryl in charge of the house because there was another incident with a burning napkin. It started as a nice tea with Jennifer, Graham, Dave and Caryl and the table was set with Christine’s beautiful best lace cloth and Caryl had the candles blazing… it was lovely until a napkin went up in flames and the tablecloth and several patches of carpet told the tale!

Caryl was a brilliant host from being young she loved nothing better than having everyone round and she would cook and she was soooo generous with her drink measures.

She and Dave both went to college. She in Manchester and Dave in Preston not far away and so there were many get togethers and some pretty wild times. Malcolm, Charlie, Kev and Ian will testify of the time Caryl decided she was tired of walking in her high heels… she loved unsuitable footwear… as any girl does. So Malcolm pushed her going one hundred miles an hour in a shopping trolley – Dave the voice of reason yelling STOP! – too late the police intervened and made them stop and take the trolley back. It didn’t deter her tough because there was one occasion later when Dave pushed her down the hard shoulder of a motorway on a luggage trolley…. there’s a theme!

Although she loved a party, Caryl was also exceptionally good at her job and excelled in hotel management. She was bright – nobody’s fool, and she was smart and efficient. Both she and Dave came to Newcastle in 1983, and married in 1985. They’d bought their house as a doer upper… and over the years it has simply evolved to embrace family life, growing like topsy with extensions and renovations. Caryl has such an eye for interiors, she had such a beautiful home… it was always Caryl’s house, stylish but the friendliest, warmest place where so many wonderful memories have been made. The very essence of her fills the place and her cuckoo clock popping out at random times reminds the family that she is still with them in many real ways.

She was a wonderful mother to her girls, Lauren and Sarah… a working mum who would be out early mornings and very well organised leaving the girls outfits ready for nursery, obviously lovely and matching and so when she went to collect them and saw that Dave had ignored her choices and gone for a randomly selection of miss matches she raised her eyebrows to the roof. She was the Mummy Bear and adored her cubs. No matter what the situation, she would and care for them – loving, dependable, kind, supportive – she was always there to listen and never judgemental and the glue that held the family together. Her role as a mother was incredibly important to her and if anyone ever messed with her kids they wo betide them. She and Dave together have their children a wonderful childhood.

When she was expecting she went to antenatal classes, the soothing music was playing as the Mums to be were told to relax. Caryl and another girl in the class started giggling… you know how it goes – before long they simply couldn’t stop. The antenatal instructress was foaming! So they escaped the class and headed to Francesca’s for a nice lunch and even dared and a bit of red wine… she’d met a real pal in Dorothy, and Dorothy and Tony’s children became very close to her too.

So many happy memories of Caz and Eloise and Charlotte have listed dozens and they all speak volumes of Caryl’s generosity, humour and hilarity. She was FAB-U-LOUS. Laughing her head off, singing and dancing, and OHH NOOOOO – her marvellous saying. She was the life and soul of the party and a Sunday lunch would turn in to crazy nights with food fights and collapsing with laughter. She’d be the one serving up the most delicious food – her generosity knew no bounds she was the kindest warmest person and Eloise and Charlotte, who Caz called Charlie could talk to her about anything – as could her daughters. She was a great listener.

There were such a great group of friends and gathering together in their special place in Greece was amazing…. they’d gone to Tolon from the kids being little. Yanis and Jackie would have everything prepared for their arrival including a crate of Heineken at the door. So many happy relaxing times in a safe and gorgeous environment by the sea and the fun never stopped. Keith and Pat often joined them… they still talk of how Pat lost her bikini bottoms on the ringos.

Caryl adored the place and it was magical for her to see her girls having such fun. She loved her girls; Lauren was sleep walking one night… Teddy wants to go to the beach. Caryl gently put her back to bed but cleverly set up cans outside the bedroom door – just in case! She was always one step ahead and certainly in her career she was practical and superbly organised and very well respected. Later in her life she Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for the NHS – she called it her TWAT job… so funny, but so brilliant and certainly if she’d been running the NHS instead of just working for them it would be completely sorted.

She had that way, she was a doer and she could be stubborn too; her opinions ranged from Facebook to Twitter and after many amazing years of going up to Scotland on holiday which she loved especially when the rest of the crew went out for bracing walks and she would greet them with a fantastic lunch and all cosy and warm – albeit you will never forget how she looked out of the window saying “aww look they’re having so much fun” while the girls were screaming stuck in quid sand.

She’s greet everyone with an OOHHH HELLOOOO and bring out the amazing roast with the most delicious gravy… no one made gravy like her and pour lovely large drinks and all was well.

She loved Scotland until Andy Murray was pictured wearing a Costa Rica shirt saying he’d support any other team but England… well that was that!

Caryl loved football and mostly Newcastle United, she’d gone with her Dad from being young and they were such a team. Her Dad knee everyone… including the top man at the brewery so straight after the match off to the Brewery she and her dad blooted. Dave was the designated driver. She passed her love for the Toon on to Lauren and Sarah and so many great times were had there and it wasn’t just about the match. Caryl had a way of making everything brilliant, even a debate about whether a plastic glass is a cup or a glass or a beaker. She’s turn her cider bottle in to a microphone and if there was an incident she’d turn to a fellow supporter pointing the bottle microphone and saying “well what do you think?”

She had nicknames for all the players. Atsu was called Bless You by her. She had her own language. Prosecco was simply Pppp… and she was famous for mixing her words almost as famous as for mixing drinks. She asked for Florescent Euthanasia in a chemists… she meant Effervescent Echinacea.

Caryl was posh… her OH NOOOO’s were legendary but she liked nothing better than watching the soaps and bought all the soap magazines. She loved Strictly, Take That or Mama Mia, she’s sing along – some of the right words but not necessarily in the right order. She liked being cosy too and she loved her checked pyjamas and getting snuggly highly at the shack.

The shack was hers and Dave’s fabulous place in North Yorkshire and they loved it there; christened the shack by Caryl it was anything but… it was a superb place and Caryl found it so relaxing. Caryl connected with Judith who who ran Akebar Park and Judith found her to be supportive of her and they became great friends, confidantes and Judith loved to see her, describing her as a beautiful person inwardly and outwardly.

Caryl had a way of being able to touch peoples lives with her warmth and her humour but also with her genuine kindness and generosity of spirt.

She become very fond of Allen and was so delighted to to go on to become a Grandma. Yaya that was her and she adored her Grandchildren, Mia and Millie. Anything they wanted and even didn’t need like a 6ft snowman, she was there. She was such a brilliant help practically and there for cuddles galore. She called Mia, My Po… my precious one. She cherished those little girls and would do anything for them – well pooey nappies maybe not so much. Caryl had a lovely family and they all loved her.

Her life was full of love and laughter. There are so many stories. The soup incident… she carried several bowls of soup to serve friends and family and up went the soup and many were covered and so there was laughter.

There was always laughter and I know Caryl would want it to continue that way. You can shed tears that she’s gone, or you can smile because she lived. Do what she’d want; smile, open your eyes, love and go on. Her life came to a close far too soon and without warning and it was incredibly hard to bear but remembering just how much she brought to your lives means that in your hearts she will never die. Caryl was truly loved as a wife, mother, Grandma, sister, Aunty, and cousin, friend, whatever she was to you she has left a Caryl shaped space that will be impossible to fill but talking and recalling love helps. Love doesn’t end with dying.

So now we must say goodbye and this is hard but we are going to do what Caryl would do when she said goodbye, she’d make you one for the road. Her famous gin and tonics, gin.. tonic.. and a bit more gin. PERFECT. She was such a wonderful lady and she will be forever in your thoughts and dreams.

“May the road raise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. The rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand. God bless her and keep her and May she have a reunion with Mother and Father. She’ll be the brightest star in the universe looking down to let you know that she is happy.”

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