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Short and sweet : A Eulogy

My darling mother in law known affectionately as Granny Valley on account of her being a granny and living in the South Wales Valleys was diagnosed with Lung Cancer in July 2021. By August 2021 it had spread to her brain, and on Monday 8 November 2021 she died aged 74. I am to put it mildly broken. In August she asked me to write her eulogy and on Monday 22 November in the Chapel of Rest I read my eulogy. In the morning after a restful night's sleep at Llechwen Hall I enjoyed a brisk walk whilst memorising my lines. It was going to be ok and I was going to be word perfect. Nothing would go wrong.

As we arrived at the Chapel of Rest surrounded by family and friends I was gripped by loss, when the coffin was wheeled in surrounded by flowers I was hit by grief, whilst Eva Cassidy sang 'Somewhere over the Rainbow' and the congregation fought back tears I was gripped by sadness and awash with tears. Crying is never a pretty sight, crying with a mask on is messy.

The Vicar did her welcome and said "Lynwen's daughter in law Nell will now read the Eulogy". As I made my way to the lectern my heart was in my mouth, my mouth was dry, my heart was racing, my tongue was stuck to the roof of my dry mouth and I was for once in my life was rendered speechless. For what seemed like ages I took deep breaths, shuffled my papers and with one more deep breath wishing I had brought a bottle of water I opened my mouth and out it tumbled.

When Lyn first asked me to do her eulogy I said ok. I’m not feeling so cocky now. When she said it would be short and sweet as she had done nothing I disagreed.

She was married to David for nearly 60 years, raised Andy, Paul and Helen, nursed and cared for her parents Peggy & Maldwyn, Paul and Helen. Granny Valley doted on her grand daughters Lucy, Milla and Lara, and looked out for everyone. Without fail.

She grew up surrounded by a loving family and had many friends from school, Merthyr and art.

She loved fiercely, cwtched unconditionally, sewed patiently, knitted furiously and cooked routinely … her trifle was allegedly the best and no one could make tuna pasta salad like Granny Valley. She mothered, nurtured, supported, cared and nursed unflinchingly. Lyn loved and in return was adored.

Lyn was a good listener. We would spend hours chatting. She’d give advice without you knowing it. In turn she would listen to advice and do nothing about it. She would laugh when we shouted bingo after her saying “never” or “love her” 5 times. She had her opinions, plenty, and you knew one was coming when her glasses were adjusted, though I ignored them when she said she’d read it in a certain newspaper.

She loved rugby. She’d ring the minute Wales beat England so if you weren’t watching the game you’d know the outcome but not the score. On the other hand the phone would be strangely silent if England beat Wales.

Never normally lost for words she was star struck when my 99 capped boss popped in to see her in the hospice last month.

That said she’d undoubtedly have been good for a team talk at half time.

She quietly took onboard things that people liked or disliked. Only once in 32 years did I have a duff present. After years of Votivo candles she sent a Yankee candle. I rang her and asked her if she was alright. She never repeated that mistake again.

She was proud of everyone by proxy. She’d tell me which friends of ours she had seen on telly, QVC or in the Western Mail. Inquisitive she’d ring and say there’s filming over by there, what is it?

But - only after 6pm on a Sunday as it was cheaper.

Lyn was gorgeously predictable and there’s understandably a gaping big hole in all our lives especially for Andy at 6pm on a Sunday.

In her last months predictability became spontaneity and she would have ice cream and Baileys for breakfast because she could and she enjoyed it. She said she looked forward to it and would lap it up, maybe she thought it was trifle. Who knows?

She also said she wanted her funeral to be emotional and for every bugger to bloody well cry and let it all out.

So here goes.

Lyn died as she lived, surrounded by love.

She was one of a kind and there’s not many daughters in law who can genuinely and with their hand on their heart say their mother in law was fantastic.

Thank you for being in our lives. Thank you for everything you did, always thinking of everyone else whilst at times forgetting yourself.

You will live in our hearts and memories forever.

We love you, we all love you and we’ll always love you.

Rest in peace and rise in glory.

I am so lucky to have had Granny Valley as a mother in law.

We used to spend hours talking in the kitchen when I visited. The least I could do for her when she was first admitted to hospital was be there. When I arrived in A&E after a sleepless night the nurse said "oh you're the daughter in law who's come all the way from London, you'd better come in and we'll make you a cup of tea". Visiting restrictions were strict and visitors were only allowed if accompanying someone who needed an adult, maternity or for palliative care. I learnt to ignore the signs that said palliative care, as much as I knew she would never get better I didn't want to think of having to say goodbye before we were ready.

So I was with her every step of the way as we waded through the ever changing treatment plan, interpreting the medical jargon and making sure that she knew when the time came all she had to do was feel loved. As I said in my eulogy she died as she lived, surrounded by love - and that she was.

I miss her immensely but I don't feel tearful and emotional as we said all we wanted to say, we talked about things we might never have talked about and she told me she really loved me and that she didn't realise how much she loved me until she had a chance to tell me. No you're crying. She also told me I was bossy, but she realised that my bossiness came from a place of concern and not despair.

Now as we navigate without our matriarch it is with a full heart, not a heavy heart. She said she'd done nothing with her life. I disagree.


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