Apr 15, 2013

Memorial Speech for Mother

Hello, my name is Brian. Pauline is my mother. She always will be.

As a remembrance, 
I'd like to thank her for some of the things she gave me.

First ...  how to giggle. 
I have giggled more in my life with my mother than with any other human being. We'd be in "gut-wrenching" stitches over some of the most trivial things. I remember at one time setting up a camera to take our picture together. The camera was in place and the timer was set to trigger the shutter. The picture was going to be perfect. I was to run in and take my place beside her, and smile. We were the only ones on the beach and the setting was so picturesque.

I pushed the shutter, 
then ran to get in the picture before it triggered. As I got beside her, I slipped and bumped her, almost pushing her over. Well ...  all of a sudden she started to giggle. I didn't know why, 
I didn't think anything was funny. Perhaps it was my seriousness she found so funny. Somehow her giggle got to me and we laughed and laughed and we couldn't stop. We were in stitches and it continued long after the picture snapped. Each was spurring the other on, and we must have laughed for fifteen minutes: You know, those giggles you just can't get out of.

She was a very, very funny lady.

She taught me to be silly. Silliness is one of the most wonderfully insane ways of sustaining your sanity.

She sang us songs: Songs like "Three old ladies locked in a lavatory," and "There was an old farmer had an old sow," which she sang in a Devonshire accent. She was born and brought up in Devon, you know.

She taught me many life sustaining things, like the fight to find culture in everything. She introduced me to the arts, the symphony, the opera, painting and the theatre. And we went sailing. We went to museums, art galleries, castles, countrysides and we crossed the ocean. She even sent me on a school trip to Switzerland when she couldn't afford it.

When I was a teenager she sat me down and pointed the finger at me.
"I'm worried about you, what are you going to do with your life?" she said.
I was a dreamer. I wanted to see the world, maybe be a beach bum. I never really wanted to work.
I shrugged my shoulders. "I don't know," I said.

She then said one of the most important things a parent can say to a kid.
"What do you like doing?"
I knew this was an important question. I needed to find an important answer. I finally said,
"I kinda like taking pictures."

She helped me to get my first job in photography, which led to a lifetime career as a photographer, a cinematographer and a film maker.

I did travel the world but I never became a beach bum; the work's too hard.

I have been at one with the arts and creativity all my life, thanks to my mother's push and inspiration.

People wanting a tickle might think of entertainers, but Mum could make us laugh, and she tried to entertain us throughout her life. And that smile: Oh that smile that was so infectious.

When she was lying in her hospital bed, very ill after a stroke, and was very slow to respond, I leaned in and whispered to her,
"Why did the chicken cross the road?"
With out a hesitation came the response,
"To get to the other side."

She never lost it.

I have a quote by George Bernard Shaw, who said:

"Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."

Thank you Mum.
Keep em laughing