FAREWELL from Philip Morrison (Eldest Son)

Three months ago, Mum was in Mary Potter and we’d been given a prognosis which extended to about a week. My uncle Russell flew up from Nelson at very short notice and spent a week looking after Mum. Thank you Russell - Mum loved you dearly; above all you were her connection to the past, to her Mum and Dad.

On 30th January this year, I feared the end may be very close indeed and wrote a letter to Mum which I took up to a somewhat surprised Mary Potter staff at 1 am in the morning.

These brief thoughts are taken from that letter. In paraphrasing I know I also speak for Barbara and Robert and their loving partners: Tom and Mary, and my partner Elizabeth.


Dear Mum,

I want to put on paper the things I would find it difficult to say out loud.

Much of you is in us - your resilience, your ability to cope and to see the bigger picture, to see the long term. It has what has made you such a wonderful mother and role model and what has given us the strength to hold the responsibilities we do.

You gave all you could to us. You left no stone unturned in giving us the very best education you could - right from the very beginning and at every opportunity. The dictionary or encyclopaedia or atlas was always at hand as were the knitting needles, the paint brush and the tennis racket. So too was the theatre stage you knew and enjoyed so much. Every opportunity was an opportunity to teach, to instruct and to make sure we were equipped to handle the world.

Your grandchildren, Jamie and Jessica, Debbie and Leon and Andrew, Hayden and Catelin will also remember you in the same way. You set high standards and have been a wonderful example to us all on how to live a full and active life, of how to make the very best of what you have and to share it with others. You have worn your pride and your confidence in the clothes you so skilfully made or altered; in the pots you turned, in the blankets you wove as well as in the bridge and bowls you played. We have always been extremely proud of you and hope you can look back on your life with immense satisfaction.

All my love and God bless.



I want to also take this opportunity to thank a number of people. First and foremost Mum I want to thank you for looking after Dad in the last difficult years. As I said at Dad’s funeral on June 19th last year in this very Chapel - you were a wonderful, caring wife through to the very, very end.

After Dad died we all hoped that you could then enjoy the good health you were in for many more years, doing the many things you still wanted to do. Alas, and with deep sorry, this was not to be.

There were silver linings on that cloud however. Your illness brought back your family as Robert and Mary extracted themselves from their dusty travels in North West Africa and Barbara left her high rise in Vancouver to join you at your bedside at 74 Moxham Ave. From your lavender bedroom with the frieze and the wardrobes Dad had built, you could look east through the lead lights into the garden you had tendered for over 50 years.

Mary, you cared for Mum with all the compassion and love that your name evokes. You were our rock - as we reminded you many times. Robert you looked after all the details that only a skilled project manager can do. And Barbara your touch is everywhere not the least in the huge garden you have cleared and the love you showed to Mum over the last few months.

Liz, these last few months were only the very end of a long relationship you had with Mum, one that grew in mutual respect over the years and deepened to a real closeness. That was no more evident than in the time you took and care you showed throughout the years of Dad’s illness, and in the caring and companionship of Mum before the others arrived.

Debbie and Steve. You have repeatedly taken time out from your busy schedule at home and at work to do what ever was needed. Lindsay, you were always there to help and you did so caringly. And, again, Ruth, you have been there when you were most wanted with the compassion and understanding we all love you for.

Jessica you were a truly loving granddaughter who lightened up Mum’s darker days with that gift you have. Guy, you connected in a unique way with Mum which made you special to her.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who is here today and those who were unable to attend. Many of you were Mum’s friends. You were much more important to her than you may have realised. Some of you had a friendship going back to well before I knew you as a child. Venetta, Pat and Nancy in particular I know you shared so much together. Today, when we all feel so sad, I also want you all to feel so positive about the way in which you have enriched Mum’s life so much.

Goodbye Mum and thank you for being the wonderful person you’ll always be.