One year ago today, my wonderful Mum passed away after a 4 year battle with colon cancer. I read her eulogy at her funeral mass, this is what I said:
When I think about Mam, the words that come to mind are:
and, most of all,
I thought about adding Very Stubborn to that list, but she’d disagree!
She endured the toughest 4 years, and faced one challenge after
another with a strength that was remarkable. Even on the darkest
days, she would inevitably say “well, I’m not going to just lie down
under this, so I’ll just have to make the most of it and keep going”,
which is exactly what she did. Niamh, Brian and myself are so
grateful for the example that she set and we’re daunted at the
prospect of living up to it.
If there is a positive to be drawn from the last 4 years, it’s that Mam
came to really know and experience the amazing love and support
she had from everyone around her. From her wonderful neighbours,
Margaret and Sean, who are the best neighbours anyone could
hope for, to her friends, “the ladies”, Mary, Eileen, Angela, Terry,
Mai and Pat who kept her spirits up, with visits and phone calls,
and, in Mary’s case, at great peril, when she slipped & broke her
wrist in the garden (Mam was insistent that they hadn’t been
raiding the drinks trolley beforehand…..), Sandra who baked
beautiful cakes to tempt Mam into eating something, Jamie who
she adored, Kathleen & Joan who came to plant Mam’s flowers
when she no longer could and her carers, Rose, Ann and Irene
who assisted Mam with tremendous gentleness and kindness.
There were many, many others who helped and supported Mam,
and we sincerely thank you all.
However, the last 4 years do not define who Rita Floyd was…..
She was an animal lover, and offered a loving home to many waifs
and strays over the years.
This included at one time, a donkey, and a goat, that I only heard
about yesterday. Bob was Mam’s last dog, he was a beautiful,
gentle soul who she found abandoned near the bottom of the
garden. He was very traumatised, and it took her a week to coax
him up to the house so that she could take him to the vet. He
repaid Mam’s kindness by being a loyal and comforting companion.
Mam’s final rescue was the current Floyd cat….the infamous
Roadie. He was called liathroidi (Irish for “balls”!) before he was neutered….Roadie
was being attacked by magpies and Mam, who could hardly stand
at the time, rushed out of the house to chase them away from him.
She then cleaned him up and fed him (he’s now got an expensive
sliced ham habit!). Roadie visited Mam at the hospice this week,
and brought all the nurses running by meowing the place down. We
were going to bring him with us today but thought he might drown
out the choir…..
Mam’s favourite tipple was a brandy & 7up, and I’m glad to report
that we got her one from the drinks trolley at the hospice this week.
She really enjoyed the few small tastes that she had….but
then we got busted by her Dr. and that was the end of that. I think
Mam approved of us breaking the rules on this occasion.
The last story I’ll share with you is about Mam’s first car, the old
yellowy/green mini. Mam relished the freedom that the car brought
her. It was a reliable, steady car but not exactly aero dynamic.
That said, Mam was absolutely mortified to get her first ever
speeding ticket while driving that car. The car itself couldn’t have
even hit the speed limit unless it was going downhill with a strong
tailwind. However, that’s exactly what happened as we drove into
Listowel on the way to a party in Fenit. She might have gotten
away with it except for the fact that the 3 of us were rolling around
laughing when she got pulled over, and the crosser she got, the
more we laughed…..and the Guard didn’t think it was very funny
either when we tried to explain that it was actually cause for
celebration….all these years later, it still makes me smile when I
think of it.
Thank you for being here with us today to celebrate Mam’s life.
There will be soup & sandwiches in the Foynes Inn from about 3.30
if you’d like to join us to raise a toast to Rita. Thank you, and God