Thursday, September 16, 2010
For June, my wonderful mother in law...
"June always said I was her favourite daughter in law – and it’s a title I’m honoured have held despite the fact that I was her ONLY daughter in law so there was never any actual competition!
I first met her more than 20 years ago when I started going out with Phil. Right away I was impressed by her energy and enthusiasm and how she seemed to have so many interests and activities – I think painting and taking piano lessons were just two of the things she was doing at that time. She always relished a challenge – whether it was learning to drive, making a wedding dress for Janice or conquering the mysteries of the computer.
We got on right from the start and I soon learned that this was one of her gifts – she interacted so well with all sorts of people. Time passed and I married Phil, and I remember my own mum telling me at the time that I was lucky, I’d acquired wonderful parents in law along with my new husband. My mum was right in that as in so many other things!
June was not the sort of person who was always saying “I love you” and giving you lots of hugs and kisses. June’s love was shown in so many different ways – some big, some small, but they all added up and made her family & friends feel valued and cherished.
When my own parents died some years ago, June and Phil were right there by my side, quietly helping and supporting me through those difficult days. And I have thought of them as my “other” mum and dad ever since.
June’s love and care gradually extended to encompass not only a growing collection of grandchildren but also the family pets – dogs, cats, guinea pigs, even hamsters – all were looked after and spoiled in her own inimitable way. And they loved her right back – our dog Charlie never wanted to return home after a stay in Whitewell Drive being waited on hand & paw and served tea & toast for breakfast!
As for the grandchildren –well, June and Phil always went way beyond the call of duty with them! They were allowed to dress up in the contents of June’s wardrobes and put on shows, and when they were ill they were nursed better in cosy duvet “nests” on the sofa in front of the fire along with generous doses of Lucozade. Christmas was always such a fun time, with carefully chosen gifts and Nanny’s special “chocolate tree”. June taught Sian how to draw and paint and advised her on her art homework. She was encouraging, not critical.
I have so many great memories of June – hours spent pottering in the garden centre at Carr Lane, sniffing the scented candles and having coffee on the afternoons that Everton played at home. Shopping trips when she’d say “go on, buy it, you deserve it!” if I admired something. Her legendary cooking – the pick and mix lunches, the apple pies that everybody fought over, magic fizzy jelly made with lemonade, the “cow pie” produced especially for grandson Phil, the picnics she provided that were always so much better than anyone else’s. Holidays and days out and afternoon teas all made more fun just because she was there.
June was always so beautiful and so immaculately turned out – stylishly dressed and made up and one of the very few people I know who could wear top-to toe white out of doors and not get immediately covered in dirt and stains.
She didn’t go in for complaining or regrets. Although she told me recently she felt both annoyed and cheated by the fact that she wouldn’t get to see the final two Harry Potter films after following the series so devotedly.
June taught me so much over the years and one of the last things was that sometimes great courage can be shown just by putting on some lipstick and a smile for your visitors.
Thank you, June, for being my friend, for loving me and supporting me like a daughter and never being that stereotypical interfering mother in law.
And thank you Hilary, Janice and Phil for sharing your lovely mum with me and so generously."
This was the tribute I read out in church at June's funeral yesterday. I could have spoken for much longer..
I really don't know how I will manage without her.