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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