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Woodland burial

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Purple **^*Sparkly*^** Diamond

Purple **^*Sparkly*^** Diamond Report 30 Oct 2013 04:19

Yesterday I went to the funeral of my son's sweet neighbour, Merle. She died recently after a spell in hospital, she was 81 and such a gentle soul with a great sense of humour and energy.

I knew she had no family to speak of and as I had often chatted with her (she was a fellow hoarder) I didn't want her to have just a few people at the funeral and my son wanted me there. As it happened there were 11 other people at the funeral but no family, her only two nephews didn't attend, one lives in France the other in London, but they never contacted her and told the friend to use any money for the funeral and the rest to go to charity along with her things.

She was born in Australia and her mother jumped off Sydney harbour bridge two days after her birth. There was a sister 6 years older. I suppose being without her mum, it made her develop a strong sense of independence and she apparently travelled a lot, living in Canada and then England but visiting America often as well. There were two female friends at the funeral, one from her former workplace who had known her 30 years and had 'adopted' her as a surrgate grandmother to her two sons, now in their twenties, nice lads. They had lots of lovely photos of her and there was an oil painting Merle had done of Jacqueline du Pre with her cello, as Merle admired her greatly. There was also a self portrait in oils which showed Merle in her earlier years, she was a very attractive woman and it's sad that she never met Mr Right as she would have made a wonderful wife and mother. She had a great sense of fun about her and was very creative sewing, crocheting, painting and more. Her nephews missed out by not staying in touch.

The friends had organised a lovely funeral for her with a wicker coffin and a charming service at the Woodland Burial site, she was later interred in an area known as Bluebell Rise so will be surrounded by bluebells in the spring. It was a bright breezy day and such a lovely place to be a final resting place. You couldn't feel sad really, as Merle had become poorly of late and was becoming very confused. She would often call my son to help her when she locked herself out or lost her keys or specs, she was really shortsighted and would often put her specs down and not be able to find them. She also started imagining there were intruders in the flat or in her loft space so my son had to go and reassure her.

He will miss her and I hope he gets a nice neighbour again when the flat is let.
I hope Merle will be resting in peace now among the trees and wildlife she loved so much. A life well lived, that's for sure.



patchem Report 30 Oct 2013 07:03

My parents are buried in a woodland site, so they can have their favourite (native) trees with them.
True to her roots, my Mother had a woollen coffin from Yorkshire.
Glad that the day went well.


BrendafromWales Report 30 Oct 2013 07:31

Aw Liz ..that is such a sad story of her life ,and you tell it so well.
Your family have been so good to her and sure she appreciated it.
What a lovely way to go and so Eco friendly.
Your son sounds as caring as you!

<3 <3

Purple **^*Sparkly*^** Diamond

Purple **^*Sparkly*^** Diamond Report 2 Nov 2013 08:29

Thanks Brenda, I don't think Merle's life was all sadness, she saw a lot of the world and made many friends, it was just as she got older that things went awry, she became dependent on alcohol for a while but managed to get off that and I suppose the hoarding of things bought in charity shops etc just became a different sort of crutch.

Patchem, a woollen coffin sounds wonderful, I have never heard of them before. was it stiffened or felted?

Her friends will miss her especially at Christmas which they always spent together as they were all vegetarian and were happy to make extra so Merle wasn't alone on Christmas Day.



PricklyHolly Report 2 Nov 2013 09:06

A somewhat sad but also a very heartwarming story of Merle's life.

That is so lovely Shirley.

R.I.P. Merle.


patchem Report 2 Nov 2013 09:58

i do not want to hijack the thread, but posting this link for woollen coffins as there is historical interest also re woollen shrouds:

Purple **^*Sparkly*^** Diamond

Purple **^*Sparkly*^** Diamond Report 3 Nov 2013 07:02

Interesting Patchem, thanks for the link.



SylviaInCanada Report 4 Nov 2013 01:14


That sounds a lovely funeral, and your son was lucky to know. I hope he can get something that she had made or created to have a "rememberance" of her.

she belongs to that age group that was affected by WW2.

We have several friends around her age.

The men went to war, and were killed. So there was a surplus of women, and many did not marry.

The same thing happened after WW1, as well.

Many of these women seem to have made a full life for themselves ......... although some ended up being "slaves" to their parents, with no lives of their own until after both parents had died. When it was often too late to make a life!



Susan10146857 Report 4 Nov 2013 02:53

What lovely words to remember her by Liz. Was anything written for the paper? maybe one day someone will come along and want to research her life.

Purple **^*Sparkly*^** Diamond

Purple **^*Sparkly*^** Diamond Report 5 Nov 2013 05:49

No, her friends just had the Funeral Directors put in the usual announcement with the details of the funeral as well. The family who befriended her organised everything as they thought she would like it to be done as she hadn't got round to writing instructions down, it was the last thing they could do for her but I know she will always be in their thoughts and hearts. I suppose many of her friends are also passed on now and the other neighbours she knew are quite elderly and not in good health themselves.

Merle apparently had a battle with alcoholism near the end of her working life but conquered that - maybe it was then she started hoarding instead. I always found her to be friendly, funny and chatty. She was still a very attractive lady with her grey hair long and wavy, and it was lovely to see the photos of her when she was younger, she had hardly changed except for her hair being much darker, very similar to my own colour before I went grey. She really was what you would call a Lady.