Kampungkayell

Food, life, and fun in my "kampung,"(village), KL (Kuala Lumpur). Did I mention "food?"

Mum's Eulogy

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Was debating whether or not to post this. But since I delivered it to an unexpectedly large crowd at the church today, it's pretty much public anyway. So here it is...

'Mum was an uncommon woman. I hear this sentiment from many. It’s still hard to believe she’s gone. Even though we’ve had months to prepare for it. I also know I didn’t want to come up and do the usual thing of, well, messages of love, and to remember her as someone as just being kind, generous, giving, loving, and big hearted. She was all that. But she was much more than that.

Perhaps a little history.

Mum was born to a middle class family in Singapore. She had 2 brothers and 1 sister. Uncle Steve, who has passed away, Aunty S.K., and Uncle Richard. Not too rich. Not too poor. Of her parents, Poh Poh, my grandmother, and her mother, was an extraordinary woman who I believe, in many ways, made Mum into who she was. From all the stories I hear, I think Mum took after her.

Mum grew up during the second world war, an independent, strong willed, young lady with equally spirited friends in Convent Bukit Nenas. Some of whom, like Aunty Pek and Aunty Balbir are sitting here today. I can only imagine that she must have driven Poh Poh somewhat to distraction as she displeased the Sisters of Convent Bukit Nenas. A Sister Teofen I believe, who, I was given to understand was as stern as she was beautiful. She snatched away Mum’s autograph book because someone had written in it the lyrics of that popular song of the period, “Smoke Get’s In Your Eyes.” The strict sister scolded her with “No wonder you can’t study. Smoke Got In Your Eyes.”

From riding her Father’s Triumph Motorcycle to work in her samfu to standing in the middle of a Cambridge street quaffing a pint of beer on a bet, she wasn’t exactly what you would call run of the mill. You could already see the mother she would become when to all intents and purposes she was thrust into the role at an early age by looking after her elder brother’s children Ron, Yvonne, and Christine while he was away studying; who to all intents and purposes became my elder siblings. Taking them on trips up to Cameron Highlands or to PD in Poh Poh’s Wolsely with Aunty Pek for company through the trunk roads of the day. Not something for the faint hearted.

She demanded a reciprocity that was sometimes difficult to keep up with. But she gave with all her heart and then some. She was somewhat blinkered by habits which led her to be a bit of a worrywort over things that perhaps weren’t quite worth worrying about.

And yet, when it came time to marry and start a family, she was as blinkeredly, fiercely, protective as they come. Her pride in me knew no bounds. But her disappointment in some of the things I did also crushed her. And she showed it. She drove Dad to distraction with her need for a certain order. And she, from her actions AND words, loved him as intensely. Only someone who loves someone else that intensely can be as bothered by them. ;-)

My Mum was very much given to a measure of dramatics. She scaled the heights and plumbed some depths of emotion. And the attendant range would have been familiar to any Oscar Winner. On the subject of marriage, I can only say that she was crushed when I answered her truthfully on the matter. Only to work through her own feelings on the matter and then accept and embrace with all her heart, Allan, who to all intents and purposes became the second son she never had.

Someone asked me on the day she passed away if we’d said everything we wanted to say to her. Thinking about it then and now, I believe we had. I can’t imagine there’s anything that I’ve left unsaid; about how grateful I was. Or how much I loved her.

I think I’ve painted a picture of a person who is in my mind a very complex character. On the one hand fun-loving, loving, gregarious, spirited, generous, kind, fiercely loyal to those she loved. But also someone rooted in tradition, but not mired in it, someone who lived life to the fullest, sometimes dramatic, sometimes searching; in a word, human.

Above it all, My Mother taught me 3 things. One, that at the end of the day, when all is said and done, you need to be answerable to your own conscience and therefore to God. Her favourite saying was “you need to be able to wake up in the morning and look yourself in the mirror.” Two, be considerate of others. She was also fond of saying “try and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.” And three, was something that she showed me in later life. Something which I feel is even more profound. She showed me, us, that it’s never too late to strive for perfection. To strive to be the person God meant you to be; and in that striving to be a better person she was perfect.'

27 Comments

That gave me an insight about your mum and how much love there is under your roof. Take care!

That's so beautiful, Nigel. What a beautiful person your mom was! *hugs*

I still remember what you told me some time back when I confided something to you. You said, tell your dad that you love him. Tell him today.

There are lessons to be learnt in that eulogy, Nigel. Your mum was certainly a pioneer in her generation. WOW.

wmw, lfb, LL, thanks for the kind words. Mum and I didn't always have the smoothest relationship always but we knew that things owuld always be ok. Hope to see all of you soon.

what a beautiful eulogy, nigel. sorry i wasn't able to be there to listen to you deliver it.

fbb; no worries. thanks for coming. Try come Monday night ya.

Beautifully written Nigel, and take care. Your mum is such a beautiful person and even more for having a beautiful son like you *hugs*

By reading this, we get to know more about your mom. It sure bring tears to my eyes, thanks for sharing Nigel.
*hugs*

It brought a tear to my eye bro...I'll try to make it Monday. Big Hugs

lianne; thanks babe

jason; thanks dear

unkaleong; thanks babe

a touching tribute. sorry i couldn't be there to hear it. x

*sniff*

well put Nigel, a heart felt, honest and open testament to your Mom.

love,
ken.

sze; thanks luv...

kenneth; thanks bro...much appreciated...she was an uncommon woman

Sorry I never met her but having known you, Nigel, always such a gentleman and good friend, I feel I have some idea of what an exceptional woman she must have been. I remember those packages she'd send you at school, all of the special things so carefully wrapped in aluminum foil, and how lovingly you always spoke of her . Our hugs to you all, I'll light some candles on the way home tonight.

Denise

That was just beautiful, Nigel. Hugs x

Denise; thank you

Alice; It's weird but I guess because UK was the last big trip with her, I tend to remember that period a lot. Thanks dear for making that trip memorable.

This is really touching, I couldn't hold back the tear.
It's really beautiful and I definitely know what a great person she is.
Love is above all and Love conquers:) The power of love can never be underestimated...
Cheers~

Nigel, I am so sorry for your loss. It seems like just recently you wrote optimistically about her successful surgery. It was quite a shock to read of her passing.

It's beautiful what you have written about your mum. A very wise woman indeed. And based on some of your posts and what your friends have written of you, I am sure she has raised you very well. What more can a mother hope for but a responsible and well-adjusted offspring who has a heart in the right places.

This comment has been removed by the author.

Christy; Thanks so much

Ka..t; aiyo...thank you so much...

It's really sweet of all of you.

very beautiful..got to thank my lucky stars that my mom is healthy and bugging me daily..

joe; ya...enjoy her company and well...be true to yourself as well as honest and good to her...I'm blessed in that I have no regrets with regard to Mum. But the worse thing I could imagine is having them.

Such a beautiful, touching eulogy befitting a Queen of Hearts. I'm really glad I've met her at least once.

Hey J, thanks so much ... that's really sweet!

How are you doing now? Coping well?

So beautiful a tribute Nigel, thinking of you both and hoping you are well. love xx and hugs.

hey msiagirl ;-) Thanks much dear. :-)

Post a Comment