wings and things

Anthony’s funeral

on August 31, 2017

To my very dear blog friends, Facebook friends, and all whose messages to Ming and me have been so comforting, many, many thanks. I haven’t been able to reply individually yet so I am expressing my gratitude here.

The funeral was yesterday: a chapel service conducted by my best friend, Tony, an Anglican priest. I had asked my mother, Meg, to do the reading and she picked the lyrics of a song made famous by Frank Sinatra and, later, Elvis Presley. I didn’t know the story behind the words then but I knew they were the right words.

Softly, I will leave you softly
For my heart would break
If you should wake and see me go
So I leave you softly, long before you miss me
Long before your arms can beg me stay
For one more hour or one more day
After all the years, I can’t bear the tears to fall
So, softly as I leave you there
(Softly, long before you kiss me)
(Long before your arms can beg me stay)
(For one more hour)
Or one more day
After all the years, I can’t bear the tears to fall
So, softly as I leave you

Then, a couple of days ago, Meg thought she would like to give the reading over to Mandy, one of Anthony’s nieces. This was an absolutely lovely exchange and Mandy looked up the history of the words and found out that Presley said the song originated when a man was dying and his wife was sitting by his bedside. As she began to doze off, he felt himself beginning to die and he wrote the words to the song on a notepad.

During the last 30 hours of Anthony’s impending death I had dozed off a couple of times, holding his hand. It was only when I woke and went outside to have a chat with Ming about the possibility that Anthony might actually die (something I couldn’t get my head around), that Ants died. Just like that. Softly, peacefully, alone but not alone because we were there.

It is impossible to describe my grief and shock at 9.40pm Wednesday 23rd, so I am not even going to try here. I can remember saying ‘no’ a few times because I couldn’t believe it. I hugged and kissed him, unable to accept that he was dead.

After the reading, Ming and I got up and did the eulogy and I was a bit shocked to see how many people were there – 150 maybe and many people had to stand as the seating was taken so fast. Old school friends of Anthony’s, nursing home staff, his entire extended family and my entire extended family, neighbours and friends and also people I’d worked with at the university, as well as a bunch of Ming’s friends. I felt so proud that I had a husband, and Ming had a father, who would draw such a crowd of people who loved and respected him so much.

This man, Anthony, was my hero, my inspiration, and my definition of love.






31 responses to “Anthony’s funeral

  1. I care with my very, very Heart. I care so much more than I can say … I can tell you the feelings in my Heart are so big for you and Ming. ❤

  2. I’m sitting in my car. Crying and smiling. Your words over the years identifying Anthony’s life. His mother. His nephew. Your mother. His friends. His farm. His fun. His strength.

    And his love. You and Ming.

    Thank you Julie, for sharing such an emotional journey with us. I feel honored.

  3. KDKH says:

    What a beautiful and fitting poem.

  4. mimijk says:

    Together you defined love – and showed what a wonder it is to your son. I’m holding you both closely to my heart..

  5. Hugs and condolences from across the waters.

  6. misifusa says:

    Bless you Jules and Ming. Ants lives on by your love and your blog. Big heartfelt hugs to you both xoxo

  7. So very sorry to hear of your loss, I have been following your posts silently here in the UK and I am truly saddened by this. Linda x

  8. they say the measure of a person is how many turn up for their funeral, so you know he was loved and respected. I hope you and Ming can take comfort from this. wishing you well for the near future as you come to terms with your new circumstances. love to you both

  9. susanpoozan says:

    Wonderful words, your mother chose so wisely and well.

  10. All I can say is beautiful. He must’ve been quite a man to bring so many people together. And you are quite a woman. And you both have quite a son. I wish the blessings of the universe on you.

  11. tootlepedal says:

    I hope that his memory will be a great comfort to you in the days to come.

  12. tootlepedal says:

    I should have added that the tribute was utterly charming.

  13. arlene says:

    Thank you for sharing with us those touching memories of Anthony Julie. May God blessings be with you and your son always.

  14. Rhonda says:

    You are so loved. All of you. Forever in my heart…xoxo

  15. Anonymous says:

    Your hero, and as you said, your voice breaking, and the last words you uttered in your eulogy, “He was the love of my life,”

  16. Vicki says:

    Thank you for sharing that wonderful and very fitting song. The number of people attending Anthony’s funeral is a beautiful reminder of what a great Husband, Father & Friend he was to so many people.
    But it also shows the love that people have for You and Ming for so many people who wanted to share and support you at this time.

  17. I started to read your post this morning and then stopped. I can’t read this right now, I told myself as tears gently started to push their way out of my heart. I have to go to work.

    I carried you and Ming and of course your beautiful, loving Ants in my heart today Julie. your story of love and caring, compassion and kindness continues to resonate and expand like a beautiful ripple that shows all of us what love truly is.

    Sending you love,

  18. Val Boyko says:

    There was such a special love between you and Anthony Julie. May the love and memories live in your heart and Ming’s forever. 💕🙏

  19. I looked at every lovely photo and now I’m sitting here with tears running down. Much love to you.

  20. judyrutrider says:

    And we, your readers, were there too in spirit. You made us love him with your tender descriptions of life with Ants.

  21. What a beautiful and fitting lyric for Anthony. Hugs. ❤

  22. paulaacton says:

    I am sorry to hear of your loss, I have been having an internet time out and had not seen news of his passing, it is strange I am shedding tears for a man at the other side of the world I never met but who I felt I knew through the love, warmth and memories you so beautifully shared with us. I cannot imagine how you are feeling at this time, the pain of the loss you and your whole family will be feeling but with his spirit by your side I am sure you will go on to bring comfort and peace to so many others as they follow the path you have walked with their own loved ones and show them that no matter what this illness may have taken from you all it never diminished the love you all shared xxx

  23. A beautiful tribute. With all the stories, I feel I know you all.

  24. continuing to think of you Julie. may you feel peace

  25. Words cannot express the sadness I feel for your loss.

  26. aFrankAngle says:

    Through the posts that you have shared here through the years (and I haven’t read all), your shared love and dedication was quite evident. So yes, the finality was still a shock and disappointment. But we have also learned from you … and you have helped me understand what my friends are going through … and for that I am grateful.

    Your days ahead will be better … you will grew stronger …. you will smile at the many memories …. just give it time … and don’t challenge time.

  27. Lovely expressions, words are so precious.

  28. dogdaz says:

    Over the years you have been such an inspiration to so many with your words. May the words of many comfort you now. – Lorian

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