Companion & Friend (Ruth)

As her eldest son, I wrote this as the eulogy for my late Mother’s life celebration on Friday 14 June last.

Ruth Eunice Shrimpton
Was Croucher, Nee Dainton
is having a whale of a time
So I thought I would capture a bit of her life
for you in some syntax and rhyme

Seven and eighty years is a
good innings to have for a start
And whilst we don’t have the time
for all of that here
These words have come from my heart

So bear with me a while
close your eyes if you like
Travel back in these lines for a bit
As I’ve tried here to capture a life lived in full
and share a little of it

I’ll take you back to the thirties
Ruth’s childhood days
and regale a few of those times
Then on through the years like a film in your heads
all woven into these lines

So let’s make a start
eighty years ago when
life was quite different from now
And though most of you here are younger than that
Cast your mind there with me somehow

Ruth earliest love was a
mongrel called Ted
A white dog with gingery ears
And at five Repton Road another called Gyp
the family dog for some years

Ruth’s Dad was a baker
and in the loft twixt the sacks
Snowdrop the little cat lived
keeping the rodent populace down
until the flour was sieved

And during the war
as the Bristol bombs fell
Tinker the tortoise-shell was
a comfort indeed to a girl in her teens
in the air-raid shelters because

Onto the fifties
and Ruth fell in love
with a graduate of Pharmacy
John Alan Croucher the graduate’s name
Dad to my siblings and me

A move up to Surrey
after two years or so
whilst retaining the West Country twang
And though the years passed Ruth never outgrew
her birth-born Bristolian slang

A couple of examples
to give you a taste
‘PEE-ANO’ for piano for one
Mispronunciation her forte it seemed
as Ruth was never quite done

Charles flew to Miami
a short while ago
and in conversation one day
Pronounced it ‘MEE-ARMY’, made us all laugh
in her own inimitable way

Ruth was a mother
and the fifties and sixties
had seen us four siblings all come
Her love it exuded, kept us all safe
Til our formative years were all done

Dad left in the seventies
His time had arrived
Went to heaven in seventy-four
And then there were five but love it endured
as there was a promise in store

The eighties arrived
and three of us left
But then from Ruth’s distant past
a widower called Tom arrived on the scene
Cupid’s arrow was once again cast

In eighty-five I gave her away
Unusual for a son then to do
But the pleasure was mine
as two hearts entwined
and true love she once again knew

Tom got his doctorate
Grandchildren came
Life knew its joys and its tears
But faith and its wisdom continued to live as it
had in her life through the years

Ruth as a grandma
A match made in heaven
Warm, soft, gentle and kind
are just some of the words they’ve given to me
of the Grandma they have in mind

Ruth was a selfless
woman of peace
with never a thought for herself
Faith to move mountains steadfast in love
in life and in failing health

She was wisdom and patience
and comfort and strength
with a smile that always saw fun
Finding the best in all that she saw
until her last days were done

A wife and a mother
A grandma and friend
A sister, an auntie and more
Ruth Eunice Shrimpton, we all here agree
was a person we call adored

And yes she’ll be missed
there’s no doubt of that
But think of her now if you will
Jumping and dancing and running about
ageless and no longer ill

When she left us
an angel I met at the door
took me aside with a smile
Left me picture to treasure and hold
in my mind’s eye and keep for a while

A rounders match waiting
on a warm summer’s day
And all of the loved ones she’d known
Waiting for Mum as she ran to them now
forever in her Father’s home

My father was there
Tom of course too
and her Mum and her Dad and her brothers
A celebratory game to welcome her home
with the angels and thousands of others

These words then are done
I’ll retake my seat
But leave a request if I may
Please don’t be sad but with Ruth be glad
on this celebratory day

©Jemverse

Photo – Jem of ‘Jemverse’ with his Mum, Winter 2017 – Sally Croucher

I hadn’t thought to publish this tribute to my Mother, who passed on 20 May this year; but know now that I must. Ruth would have wanted me too as it captures the heart of who I am and what I do.

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Drusillas

We went down to Drusillas
for our anniversary
four of us this time, Bezza
Sally, Grace and me
There were parties of schoolchildren
but we made an escape bid
and marched on up ahead of them
so from the masses hid

Sal and I as senior citizens
got cheaper entry too
First time to take advantage
just for asking, as you do
And we made sure that we got there
when it opened on the dot
As that’s always best on days like this
especially when it’s hot

We saw marmosets and meercats
and penguins and anteaters
and goats and little horses
beavers, otters and some cheetahs
Capybara munching breakfast
Monkeys resting on their knees
some really laid back lemurs
and coatis climbing trees

It really was a special day
and we’re really pleased we came
As Drusillas is fantastic
and never quite the same
There’s always something different
to capture imagination
so it’s somewhere we return to
as it holds such fascination.

©Jemverse

Photo – laid back black lemur – Drusillas zoo park, Alfriston, Sussex – Jempics

 

Farewell but not goodbye

Today we say farewell to you
but definitely not goodbye
For some day we will meet again
when comes the day we die

So here’s to you our Mother dear
we’ll miss you, that’s the truth
But you are in a better place
A smiling John and Ruth

Say hello to Dad for me
and sing with us a while
on this your celebration day
as I try my best to smile

©Jemverse

Photo – Ruth Eunice Shrimpton (was Croucher, nee Dainton) – 5 September 1931 to 20 May 2019 – published on the day of her life celebration – Friday 14 June 2019 – Jempics

The red and the gold

The sunset is over
the fading has passed
the evening slip-slides away
We’ve said our goodbyes
and shared in the peace
that we saw at the end of your day

The red and the gold
have flooded the sky
The evening of life is now done
We’ve each kissed your head
and held your sweet hand
as the end of your life has now come

But as I left he smiled
and tipped me a wink
The angel there at the door
Whispered a greeting
said it was time
That this was what you’d waited for

‘She’s in good hands’ he said
‘And loving it now’
‘With a jump and a dance and a shout’
‘Shed a tear by all means’
‘But remember that this’
‘Is really what living’s about’

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

[Written on the day my Mother – Ruth Eunice Shrimpton – passed; 20 May 2019].

A 60th tale

A day out in Lewes
with the girls in the sun
Browsing antique shops
and all having fun
Here for Sal’s sixtieth
Celebrations start here
Two months for us all
in this special year

We’ve had olives and coffee
at ‘Bills’ for a treat
and later ‘The Snowdrop’
for a beer sounds sweet
We’ve danced in the square
with a man on a flute
and paused on the bridge
watching one with a lute

We’re brought things for the garden
and stationary too
and second-hand clothes
of course, as you do
And best thing of all
and the reason we came
was Cliffe High Street antiques
for some presents again

Three tall iron sculptures
for the garden outside
pre-rusted for us
with iron oxide
And now that we’re done
with Lewes behind
we head back to Brighton
with dinner in mind

Bangers and mash
in the pub on the hill
With plenty of choice
’til we’ve had our fill
An excellent day
it has been for us all
With memories made
we will oft now recall

And the star of the show
for our own Sally Ann
her sixtieth birthday
has been rather grand
Precious these are
these family days
with memories to treasure
in so many ways

©Jemverse

Photo – the three iron garden sculptures we brought at Cliffe High Street antiques centre in Lewes on 16th May 2019, in situ – Jempics

Heaven, waiting, sings

It’s peaceful here, these darkened rooms
this ward, this evening hour
A deepened sleep. Breath in, breath out
from this still fading flower

Autumn’s come to this long life
as here we sit and wait
knowing that the time is close
The hour now is late

Breath in, breath out. A comfort here
We listen and we hear
Feeling peaceful, resolute
there falls a passing tear

Earlier we shared a prayer
the five of us as one
on this an evening of a day
to one of us now come

Breath in, breath out. The comfort stays
yet, waiting in the wings
the loved ones who have passed before
as heaven, waiting, sings

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

In the garden with Chris

Sunday in the garden
with jazz and sun and beer
And family, conversation
pavlova and good cheer
Laughter on the Springtime air
from here this afternoon
We’ve been out since breakfast
and evening’s coming soon
But Chris Barber and his clarinet
still has a voice to hear
so we’ll all stay a little while
and have another beer

©Jemverse

Photo – Jempics

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