Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Margreet's send-off

 Margreet has passed through the door into the Great Mystery.

I have been too busy/tired to blog the final doings. It doesn't take much. Shoppng first for groceries and then for some camera stuff, all on foot, left me exhausted for the rest of the day and much of the next. Ridiculous! Time to finish before I forget.
Margreet had planned her own memorial, entirely as she had lived: simple, and as cheaply as possible. Her home is a five minute walk from the hall, so she couldn't see the point of a bunch of cars following the hearse. We just walked behind it. Below, the brothers.
Margreet loved a bargain and would probably have been thrilled to find a coffin on Marketplace, the local equivalent of Craig's list. (Joke. We didn't.)
Some 'six feet under' details got in the way of some plans: If you die at home in the evening you may not be in good enough shape to lie in state later on.....
The picture below was taken after we brought her home on Thursday night. Happily asleep with the lovely nurse Marina in attendence.
We had had plans to invite people to the home for a final farewell, they have cooling units they place under the body. But because Marg had just been at room temp for 12 hours and had been ill and full of drugs,  this was no longer feasible. The funeral people came and laid her out, cooled and all, at home on Sunday morning but her face really did not look like her anymore. And I couldn't do a thing with her hair.  Good hair was always so important to her. We are sure she would have preferred people to remember her at her best. Jaap who has been the master organizer, called the undertakers to come and get the body on Tuesday morning.
After two nights alone at home with a dead sister I got to assist with the closing of the coffin. I feel privileged to have had the chance to be such an intimate part of the final stage of life.
Margreet was sent off with a miniature uniform of Ajax, her soccer club, and a baby picture of her beloved red tomcat Binky, who she got when he was only 5 weeks old.

Architect Dudok designed this cemetery, Zuiderhof, Hilversum, which is a place of serenity and beauty. Jaap and I walked the grounds a few days earlier.
The memorial was held in the aula here, the body was taken elsewhere for cremation. Eventually the siblings will scatter her ashes in many places that had meaning for her, including some in Nakusp.
There were quite a few people. Extended family, some neighbours, and many long time co-workers. One of them gave a moving speech about how Margreet had inspired her in her final year. Margreet loved talking about people. Not so much gossip, just what was happening. Of course the family got to hear about the colleagues and vice versa. Both parties enjoyed finally meeting each other, with some glee. "I know all about you....." "Likewise!"
Jaap used the last sibling line-up as basis for a beautiful portrait to place on top of the coffin. We had asked for red flowers. Margreet had decorated her little house entirely in grey and burgundy.
Gerrit and I both shared our memories of Margreet and Jaap closed by inviting those who felt like it to follow us to Margreet's home for soup, broodjes and drinks. We had never thought that almost everyone would come along! Sorry folks. The planning had been for about 25. We should have had more nibblies. The little house got quite crowded, thank goodness the weather was half decent and people could spread out into the backyard. And then it was over.
We all took some of the flowers but the most beautiful arrangements stayed here. I have been enjoying them.  Thanks sis, and thanks for all the memories.


  1. Lovely to be able to do this for her.........and now you my friend deserve a nice warm day in the sun and rest....

  2. What a beautiful testimony to her life, Ien!

  3. You are in my prayers my dear friends


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