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Custom Eulogy to a Woman Sample

Cousin Jane was not an American Indian but she certainly shared their worship of the sun. She adored swimming and although she swam in countries as far apart as France and Turkey her greatest enjoyment was always a plunge in her local lake. When she could spare time from her swimming and bridge she loved family occasions, especially Christmas. This year we were delighted when she managed to spend her last Christmas day with us.

Determination was one of her great strengths. In fact it was probably that which made her such a wonderful sportswoman. She was an excellent tennis player, a member of two golf clubs, a classy swimmer and she rode a mean pony.

When Christ said blessed be the peacemakers he must have been talking about her. She hated any disagreements or fights and, let's face it, in a family of eight siblings there were occasional and sometimes even heated arguments. I think that the greatest tribute of all to her was that when the question of a nursing home arose every family member insisted that Cousin Jane must be looked after, whatever the cost.

She had a wonderful ability to choose and keep friends and she did, right till the end. As a youngster she played the violin but her greatest joy was going to a theatre every Saturday night with Maureen her great friend. I am putting it on record that we could never have a family function on Saturdays because that was Maureen's night. If they gave gold medals for being loyal friends Maureen should get the first.

She would never claim she was the housekeeper of the year. She did, though, despite herself, win a neighbourhood prize for her garden. As she was away on holidays and her marigolds had run riot I suppose it must have been a prize for the wildlife look. She was very proud of that prize and as on many occasions we laughed about it together. Cousin Jane loved a joke even at herself.

She also had a hidden life, hidden from her family I mean. We did not know all her neighbours, those who played bridge with her or her friends, especially those in her local community centre. Her invitation to their Christmas party this year meant such a lot to her because she knew she was not forgotten even though she had had to go into a retirement home. She didn't deserve to be forgotten, because she always remembered others. She was generous both with her money and her time. She was always the first to visit someone in hospital and supported many charities and she never forgot a birthday and always made a lemon cake for the occasion.

They grow great neighbours in her hometown. Mrs. Peggy Cullen who lived next door to her always had a meal on the table for her when she returned from her many travels, checked on her every morning, but more importantly accompanied her to mass every morning.

It's true that God never closes one door but he opens another. When Mrs. Cullen died Joan Kellegher another neighbour opened her door and her heart to Cousin Jane. In her last months she became Cousin Jane's rock, her friend, someone who understood her and cared deeply for her. "Love thy neighbour" was written for and about people like Joan.

Again and again in Cousin Jane's life we return to the gospel because as each one of us knows her knees were worn out praying for us. She took her duty as Godmother very seriously indeed and I know her Godchildren featured especially in those prayers although there is no truth in the rumour that I badly needed those extra prayers! I know the family will understand if I mention our cousin Mary who did so much for Cousin Jane. When God was making nieces he only made one like her. Mary's middle name is love.

Speaking of love Cousin Jane was once engaged to be married but her fiancé died. She didn't let her sadness ruin her though but continued to lead a full and active life as a civil servant, a sportswoman and a favourite aunt. In fact the rest of us found it hard to keep up with her activities. She was afraid to drive herself but would quite happily go for a jaunt with anyone else who claimed to be able to drive. Whenever I brought her out she always insisted on buying me an ice-cream cone as payment. Obviously it had to have chocolate in it.

She always hated church bells because they reminded her of death and she said she was afraid to die. That's why I am glad God took her in her sleep. Nobody who had led a life like hers had any need to be afraid of their welcome in Heaven.

She would be astonished that so many people are here to mourn her today. It never occurred to her that her gentle manner and her concern for others made her so popular. We, her family, have many memories of times spent with her. We would love it too though if you told us what she meant to you. So if you have an incident to share or a story to tell please do. We will add it to our memory chest labelled Cousin Jane.

I don't know if there are any swimming pools in Heaven. I don't know if the angels play golf. All I do know is that Cousin Jane was so fit with all her sporting activities that, even at eighty, she would have no trouble at all in climbing those golden stairs. I know too that God will be waiting to welcome her like an old friend.

May she rest in the peace she deserves.