On Monday we said our final goodbyes to Tom’s mum, Rita, who died at the end of January after what had been a very distressing four months.  I wrote this poem to banish some of the most painful images and to remember my mother-in-law instead in snapshot moments when she had seemed so full of life.  I showed the poem to Tom who asked for it to be printed on the Order of Service for Rita’s funeral, but was asked by Ken, my father-in-law, to read it instead.  Rita, it was my great privilege to do this one last thing for you. 


Be carefree.  A child again.
A Devon maid, plucked from London,
dabbling bare feet in the dappled Dart.

Be glad at heart.  A bride beside
a steadfast groom.  A marriage spanning
sixty years, paper to diamond.

Be supple and strong.  A champion,
a huntress in white, your name
glowing gold in the Sussex sun.

All pain is gone.  There is nothing
to fear. Be a breath in the wind.
Be the warmth in the air. 
Be at peace now.

© Christine Stovell

The photograph above is a lovely moment captured by photographer Alexa Loy at Rose and Si’s wedding.


Flowerpot said…
That is just lovely, Chris - what a beautiful tribute to Rita. X
Normally, I can't get on with poetry at all.

I'm happy to make a serious exception in this case though. Just lovely!

Dear Chris,

My heart aches for you, Tom, your father in law, and family. I'm so sorry for the great loss your family has suffered.

The poem you've written is lovely and a wonderful tribute. I'm sending you and your family love and strength during this difficult time. <3
Chris Stovell said…
Thank you, Sue. My apologies for being so absent from blogging. I hope to be back visiting and commenting again now. Cx

John you're most kind, thank you!

Chanpreet, it's certainly been a very tough time and your kind thoughts are much appreciated. Love and strength will help us to heal, repair and remember Rita as she once was so thank you. xx
mountainear said…
A beautiful piece - you've fashioned so few words into such a poignant tribute.

Hoping there are better days ahead for you all. X
Unknown said…
What a lovely memory of a very special lady. Angela Britnell
Deborah Carr said…
So sorry for your loss, Chris. Your poem is so beautiful it made me cry. x
Deborah Carr said…
So sorry for your loss, Chris. Your poem is so beautiful it made me cry. x
Jean Helsby said…
What a lovely tribute Chris. So very moving. X
Chris Stovell said…
Thank you, lovely Mountaineer. We need a rest for a while, that's for sure! xx

Thank you, Angela - she touched a lot of people's lives.

Oh, Debs - sorry! And thank you too xx

Thank you, Jean - tough times xx
Pondside said…
What a hard start to the year for you and Tom, Chris. The poem is beautiful and made me feel a bit weepy, as it could be about so many women of that generation - come to adulthood in wartime, so brave, so full of optimism and 'can do'spirit. I wish I could come over to take you out for coffee and a walk. I can't, so please just know that I send warmest thoughts your way.
Lins' lleisio said…
Wonderful Chris, what a lovely and lasting final gift.
Chris Stovell said…
Dear Pondside, I'm hoping very much that next year I might be able to take you out for coffee and a walk as it's our fervent hope that we will be able to see the Little Family in Edmonton! We'll have a lot to talk about! Thank you for those warm thoughts, Cx

Many thanks, Lins - here's to Spring, better weather and a chance to catch up with you and Mags xx
My throat is thick with tears on reading your poem. What a tribute to Rita. I know how hard it has been over recent months, from what you have said, what you haven't said and my own experience. I hope you have chance now to regroup, to take care of yourselves and to take time to see in the spring. Very best wishes to you all.
Chris Stovell said…
Sorry, Elizabeth, to remind you of your own very tough times in recent years and of your great losses. You know all too well how difficult and painful it is and your advice is excellent. We do indeed need to regroup and repair. Thanks so much for your good wishes xx
Sandra Mackness said…
This is a beautiful poem, Chris. Thanks for sharing it with us. Much love, Sandra/Jill xx
Frances said…
Dear Chris,

What a fine poem you have written. It's a privilege to be able to read it and to feel that I have been able to know a lovely lady.

I'm sending lots of love to you and Tom, and do wish that I were closer and able to provide more comfort and support to you all.

Chris Stovell said…
Many thanks Sandra, I look forwards to catching up with you in the warmer weather and hearing how you're settling into your new home.xx

Dear Frances, you're often in our thoughts and your blog is a constant reminder of a very happy time so there is plenty of comfort and support to be had despite the miles between us. Thank you so much for your kind comment. xx
Kath said…
That's a beautiful poem and a lovely tribute, Chris. Poetry so often is the only way to capture feelings at this time. I'm sorry for your loss and send warm wishes to you and your family at this time. xx

Popular Posts