Thursday, 18 February 2010

Warm, Warm Memories

Dearest E

Have just been going back through all the cards we received and this one brought back so many memories.  

It was from Debs, Harry, Soula, Denis and Nap at Villa Kouros in Zakynthos where we spent two absolutely wonderful holidays there, in 2000 and 2006. 

They said they were 'all so sorry to hear the sad news' and that 'they would always remember Eileen's kindness and lovely, lovely smile.'

So that holiday back in 2006 will now be the the last one we had together in Greece, and these photographs from that time remind me of how much we - and you in particular -  enjoyed our stay at Villa Kouros among such wonderful friends.


Remember our last day there?  We spent all day at Ionia beach and stayed as late as possible, trying to squeeze the last remaining bit of heat out of the sun, long after almost everyone else had gone.


Then later, after we had eaten in their restaurant at the top of the hill, we stayed on there with them, talking, laughing and drinking wine, long after all the other customers had paid and gone, stretching the evening into the early hours.


'With very fond memories' is how they signed the card.

They also said to me, 'Hopefully, we will we see you again someday.'

That's one 'Journey with Memories' I might be persuaded to make one day, even though it will not be the same without you.  But then nothing much is or ever will be again.

Love you and miss you,


Friday, 12 February 2010

5 December 1943

My Darling Eileen

Maggi and Peter sent a beautiful card.  Inside Maggi had slipped a note.

This is how it began:

'That day I was aware something was up when Mary, then aged 8, and I, aged 5, were despatched across the road and around the corner to 'go and see Auntie Kathleen.
Strange that, because we hardly ever did.
Mary was deputed to hold the hand of sister Kate, then aged one and a half. To my shame I was told to carry her potty.  (No plastic bags to disguise the evidence in those days.)
I don't remember the tea or what happened in Connaught Gardens, but our father came to collect us several hours later. 
On our return home he said 'Mama has something to show you' and we were introduced to our new sister, Eileen Ann.      

We were good friends as children, despite the five and a half year age gap.  We had a similar sense of humour and played Monopoly and card games obsessively.
Eileen was good at Snap, being quick, and managed to win with monotonous regularity and great good humour, especially at Rummy.
When we were older I recall shopping together in Oxford Street, when the children were at school or being minded by Granny.
At one point we shared a lovely Ossie Clark black evening dress.  Since we had different sets of friends the dress got good wear.
Our lunchtimes in Oxford Street were always a cheese omlette and a half pint of lager.  Those were the days!

Christmas parties and holidays in Holland were so good - lots of new experiences and so much laughter and fun.
There are so many memories and I am grateful for those.  Eileen was brave and kind and funny.
I will miss her so much.'

Eileen, my love, we all will.
Will write again soon.

For ever,

Trevor xxx


My Mum

My Darling Eileen

Charlotte read beautifully at your service.  It wasn't easy for her - or for any of us as our emotions were understandably high.

Didn't want you to miss it. So this is what she said:

'Mum was loved by so many people, her family especially.

I’m not brave enough to use my own words today, to talk about how much she means to me.

I looked at many readings and poems but none seemed to say quite the right thing.

All the while my heart kept leading me back to one thing… of Caitlin & Reuben’s favourite books at the moment.

It sums up what I want to say perfectly.  I hope you’ll excuse the simplicity.

It's from a children's book called 'My Mum' by Anthony Browne.'

She’s nice my Mum

My Mum’s a fantastic cook, and a brilliant juggler

She’s a great painter, and the STRONGEST woman in the world!

She’s really nice, my Mum

My Mum’s a magic gardener. She can make ANYTHING grow.

And she’s a good fairy. When I’m sad she can make me happy.

She can sing like an angel, and roar like a lion

She’s really, REALLY nice, my Mum

My Mum’s as beautiful as a butterfly and as comfy as an armchair.

She’s as soft as a kitten, and as tough as a rhino.

She’s really, REALLY, REALLY, nice my Mum

My Mum could be a dancer, or an astronaut.

She could be a film star, or the big boss.

But she’s MY Mum.

She’s a SUPERMUM, and she makes me laugh. A lot.

I love my Mum.

And you know what?
(And she always will)

Just as we will always love you, my beautiful Eileen.

For ever,

Celebration for a Lovely Lady

My Lovely Girl

Your funeral service was a celebration of your life and reflected the joy and magic you brought to everyone who knew and loved you.

Nikki did a wonderful job of designing and producing the Order of Sevice.

On the back we included photographs specially selected to reflect different aspects of your life and the way you lived it.  These are some of them...

'Eileen enjoyed her role as one of the
 ‘four Linehan girls’ and did her utmost
 to ensure the tradition for lively,
 hilarious, and often raucous,family
get-togethers was passed on down
 the generations.'

'Eileen was warm, loving, tremendous
 fun and a joy to be with, kind,
 loyal, genuine and unassuming,
 trustworthy, aware of the feelings
 of others and someone you could count
 on for sound and sure advice.'

'She was a devoted mother, caring and
supportive. She had high standards
 and could be strict at times, but she
 loved Charlotte and Adrian dearly and
 took immense pride in their achievements.
Eileen was delighted when Charlotte and
 Adrian found such wonderful loving
 partners in Ivan and Nikki, and took
 them to her heart.'

'She loved to sing but was always
 off-key. She was hopeless at map
 reading, petrified by heights, could
 never remember a joke, loved cats and
long dangly ear-rings and simply
 adored sitting on a beach in Greece with
 the sun on her back.'

'Eileen desperately wanted grandchildren
to enjoy and play with.  She was ecstatic
when Darcy, Caitlin, Reuben, and Harriet
arrived. The tragedy is she had so little
quality time to enjoy them. She was and 
would have been a wonderful 'Oma‘ to them.

'So sleep peacefully and farewell
 my beautiful girl.

You were so loved by everyone
 who knew you. The magic and joy
you brought to our lives will live
 with us for ever.'

For ever,
Trevor xxx

Friday, 5 February 2010

The Girl in the Garden

My Lovely Girl

There was so much I wished to say about you at your funeral service.

Since we have been so happy together for such a long time - but nowhere near long enough for me I now know - I thought I should begin by telling how we met.

This is what I said:

'One Saturday morning in early June 1960 I flew to London to start a new job the following week. That afternoon I moved into a bed-sit in a house in Muswell Hill, where some relatives of mine already lived.
As I unpacked, I noticed an attractive girl sitting in the sunshine, in a deck-chair in the back garden of the house next door.
Later that same evening, my aunt offered to go and speak to a friend of hers, to see if that friend’s daughter was free to show me around the neighbourhood.
When my aunt returned she was with the beautiful girl in the garden.

The girl was tall, slim, long-limbed and graceful. Up close she was even lovelier, with sparking blue eyes and a dazzling smile. She said her name was Eileen.

That warm June evening we walked for miles and talked all the way.

She was the most natural and beautiful girl I had ever met and the chemistry between us just fizzed and then ignited.

By the time we reached home I was completely enchanted by her and more than a little in love with her already.

As we said ‘good night’ I leant forward and kissed her. As I left, Eileen asked quietly if she would see me tomorrow. I said she would and that I was certain we would see each other for a great many tomorrows.
That’s when the magic started and it never ever faltered.'

My Love, I know this photograph was taken nearly a year before we met.  But it is so close to the image of you that I first saw, that sunny summer afternoon all those years ago, that I have treasured it ever since - and always will.

Love and miss you so much. 

For ever,

Trevor xxx 

Jean Genius

Dearest Eileen

Sue and Andy Oliver were sad when I rang them a day or so after losing you, to tell them the news. 

You'll remember they had been to see you just before Christmas.  Even though they could see you were far from well that day, I think it still came as a shock to them.      

They sent a lovely card with snowdrops on the front.  Inside, Sue's message read:

'We have lost an incredible person.  Eileen was so loved by you Trevor.  Andrew and I could sense what an amazing bond there was between you when we were there just three weeks ago.
When I close my eyes and think of Eileen, I see a tall, slim, vivacious, attractive lady with a great sense of humour, a twinkle in her eye and a beautiful smile.
Eileen taught me how to zip my jeans up, by putting a shoelace through the fastener and pulling up while lying on my back on the floor.
We had so much fun in Holland together.'

That we did.  Great times, great memories.

I read from this quote from Sue in my tribute to you at the funeral service.

Will tell you more about that another time.

For now, remember I love you.

Missing you,

For ever,
Trevor xxx


Fine Words

My Darling Eileen

When they heard the news about you, I received lots of cards and messages from our friends and relations, as well as some of your former colleagues.

Their fond and lovely memories of you brought me lots of comfort and - in quite a few cases - a smile to my face.

So, sparing your blushes, I thought it would be good to share some of them with you.  After all they were writing about you - and what you meant to them.      

JJF e-mailed me to say:

'Janet and I were very sad to hear the news about Eileen. Please accept our deepest condolences. As you know, Eileen and I worked together for about 10 years along with a bunch of like minded fun loving people who all seemed to be bursting with energy and character. 

Eileen was one of the brightest and most surprising members of our team, demonstrating hidden depths particularly at Christmas parties, with some stories about her now legend.’

When I checked with Christine T about this after I received JJF's email, I gathered, between her tears and laughter, that it was something to do with an hilarious and unforgettable version of 'Little White Bull', which you gave the first Christmas after you joined NP.

Wasn't there so cannot comment.  But, knowing you, it does not surprise me.

According to Christine it shattered the ultra-efficient super-cool image they all had of you up until then.  

JJF and Janet came to the sevice to pay their respects to you and remember the goods times in Guiseley.  It was nice to hear his 'Sorry for your Troubles' in that soft velvety brogue of his. 

JJF hasn't changed much. Maybe not quite so lean and a little more laid back. You would have enjoyed talking to him.

Love you

For ever,
Trevor xxx       



A Rose is a Rose

My Darling Eileen

It's just over a week since your funeral and at last the high emotions, but not the memories of that day are beginning to subside.

There's a single rose, pale pink in colour, on the desk beside me as I write.  It's one I kept back from my wreath to you last week.  A week on it is now rather faded, I'm afraid, unlike my love for you which is as strong as ever.

Knowing how much you liked flowers - and roses in particular - when it came to my wreath, it was an easy choice.  Remember back to last autumn, when things were not getting any easier for you?  Every day I would pick a few fresh roses from the garden and put them in a vase and bring them up to our bedroom.

The sight of them never failed to bring a smile to your face.  Especially the really pale pink ones from the bush beside the patio door.  I have just been out to check this morning and it is already starting to bud. 

Sadly you won't be here to see it when it blooms this year.  But I promise I will keep picking roses from the garden and bring them indoors to remind me of you constantly - and of the simple single pink rose you carried on the day we got married.  

I have lots and lots of things to tell you about, since you left us. 

But I haven't forgotten that you always preferred brief little notes to long rambling one, so I'll try and keep them that way in future.

Will write again soon.

Missing you so much my love,

Trevor xxx  

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Farewell My Lovely

5 December 1943 - 12 January 2010

My Darling Eileen

Remember when, if you knew we going to be apart overnight, you would leave little notes on my pillow. 

Like this one, which you hid under my pillow the day you went in to hospital... 

Well this is a note to you, my love, very much along the same lines - to say that I love you and will miss you so much.

Except this time I know you are not coming back to me and that I am left here on my own, with just those wonderful memories to console me.

Yes I know I have C and I, A and N and the grandchildren to comfort me and look after me.  But it’s not the same - and never will be - without the lovely girl who has been at the centre of my life since that wonderful day we met all those years ago.

I know we had to let you go and I hope you did not suffer too much pain - but I do miss you so.  I loved you so much and wish we could re-live every moment again.

Even though it's three weeks tonight since you slipped away from us, I still feel you are here for me and for all of us, just as you always were.

So, as I promised you weeks ago when you were stronger, I will write often and tell you how things are.

So, for now, sleep peacefully my beautiful girl.  I love you so and always will.

Trevor xxx