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Memories of Elizabeth

19th November 1941 - 4th August 2004

This page has been made so that those who want to may know a little more about Elizabeth. We have included a transcript of the words spoken at her funeral by a family friend, Rev. Susan Cowell.


(Spoken by Rev. Susan Cowell at the private gathering of family and neighbours at her home on 10th August 2004)

This is the day that none of us wanted --- yet we have known it was inevitable as it is in every life. Now our thoughts and feelings are all mixed up. For ourselves we are hurting and naturally so as we would be strange people indeed as daughters, sons in law, granddaughters, friends and neighbours if there were no tears – but let’s stop for a moment or two and think of Elizabeth—all she was and for ever will be, all she has done over the years, all the help she has given to so many and all the good and happy memories we have of earlier days—remembering in particular the courage and bravery she has shown in these last 18 months—the parting with John and her own health situation the decisions and the suffering ----all thankfully now ended. but I want to concentrate on the lessons she has taught us especially during this time.
  1. To live fully each day – Most especially her enjoyment of her family Fiona and Barbara, Ian and Pat, Sheenagh and Katherine, Douglas and Callum, Scott and Angus and remembering little Alasdair. Never did a day go by without visits, phone-calls and latterly postcards, many hugs and cuddles and a few wee performances. She lived every step of your way in Scotland in Northern Ireland in Dubai and everything you did was an interest to her. - She enjoyed making the best use of time—her own interests and activities, sewing, the garden, the wildlife except for that rabbit, her computer and her many email contacts, the TV and the Sky programme so that she could enjoy the tennis, the ice-skating, the golf when there were no visitors. The first lesson—to live fully each day.
  2. To enjoy what she could. She knew her own strength and her own tastes when it came to shopping. She enjoyed her trips with Barbara and the children, and to the cinema with Fiona. The love and care of Shadow and the faithful concern for her wellbeing and future. Even quite recently getting the bus to visit Bunt in Biggar who said to me that Elizabeth shared more of the Christian faith with her than anyone else in her 96 years.
  3. To accept what could not be changed. I know only little, Barbara and Fiona much more—but none of us really know the pain she must have suffered at times—but rarely did she give way to it. She took up every battle, she didn’t look back but met every hurdle bravely and faced up to every difficulty with remarkable courage.
She appreciated the help and care she received from her family and from neighbours and friends and in so many ways from the various hospitals and specialists, doctors and nurses, from Sandra the Macmillan Nurse and the local district nurses and particularly Jim her cancer care driver. So what of today—we have the choice – to weep, to be angry, to feel annoyed, to be confused, -- all natural expressions but not Elizabeth’s way. What would she want us to do?—to face the future with courage and certainty, to do all that was right and proper and kind and helpful and fun and fulfilling and to the glory of God.

On 21 June Elizabeth sent this poem written by Joyce Grenfell to an email friend Judy in Oklahoma—it is typical of Elizabeth and it is true. It is called---

Life Goes On

If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone
Nor when I’m gone speak in a Sunday voice
But be the usual selves that I have known
Weep, if you must
Parting is hell
But life goes on,
So sing as well.

© copyright: Rev. Susan Cowell, August 2004


(Spoken by Rev Susan Cowell at Elizabeth’s funeral at Morton hall Crematorium on 10th August 2004).

A week past Saturday Elizabeth said to me “I’m tired”.

Today she is at rest, and sad and horrible though it is for us, to know she is at peace, is comfort indeed. A minister colleague once reminded a family that we had prayed that the pain would go away, and the sickness would stop, and today these prayers are answered. Of course we would rather that Elizabeth was here but we do know that she and John are reunited welcomed and received into the very presence of God.

Now why was Elizabeth tired?—why is anyone tired?—because they have run the race overcoming times of ill-health in her younger days, coping with the sudden loss of John and magnificently winning through hospital appointments and worse these last 18 months ---- she deserves some rest.

You are tired if you have worked hard and made good use of the talents you have been given. Elizabeth has—in supporting her husband in bringing up her family, in the housework and home-making, in her gifts and talents in sewing and needlework it’s time for a rest.

Service to others and in the community Looking after the garden, feeding the birds, involved in nature surveys, in caring for the various family dogs particularly Shadow and giving a respite home to Guide Dogs.

service in the Lord’s work through PSALM writing words and music, for the Bible Society over many years as a collector and office bearer, in correspondence round-the-world by email and with special friends and near hands.

Of course in her life and living she was well supported, encouraged and loved by John and in due time Fiona and Barbara and then Ian and Pat and now the family dynasty including Sheenagh and Katherine, Douglas, Callum, Angus and Scott not forgetting little Alasdair--- you were not only the greatest of encouragers, constant sources of love but also providers of help, great interest and enjoyment whether in Symington, Northern Ireland or Dubai the phone, the email, the visits, the postcards and the outings the stories and the happenings brightened each day.

Of course for ourselves we are sad but for her it is far better so we must not be selfish or clingy but rather release her to Father God knowing that in his care she is safe at rest and at peace.

© copyright: Rev. Susan Cowell, August 2004

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I miss Elizabeth so much. We had such wonderful messages as she traveled these last hard steps. Her love of all of her family was so evident and she spoke of them often. I will forever be touched by the stories of "I'll never forgt that day" I will treasure the CD she sent to me forever. I'm so glad you have put the site back up for me to visit.
Friend from Wyoming USA

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