So here it is, the final posting about mum's departure and although this piece concludes the trilogy, I daresay that references to Nina will continue to materialise in future ramblings of a Cypriot Rose. There’s a famous quote that says a person dies two deaths, the first when they exhale their final breath and the second when their name is uttered for the last time. Well mother, thanks to the internet and social networking I think your second death will be a long time coming!
I'm writing this from PM Bar on Limassol sea front where I'm sitting drinking an espresso (as they don't serve Cyprus coffee - shock horror - and when I asked them why not they blamed the Troika. A throw-away remark but such are the feelings of bitterness here - though I'll save that for another post; the coffee was not bitter and I "chased it" with dry white wine!). Im looking out across the azure Mediterranean sea and it seems appropriate to be writing this from Cyprus as I feel mum's presence very strongly here. Cyprus is a good place for thinking and I guess it's no coincidence that the world's greatest philosophers are from this section of the globe (well, Greece anyway).
We buried mum on the 23rd December 2012, just 4 days after she’d died. It had been a hectic 4 days I can tell you, with little enough time for grieving, (though to be honest I think I’d been grieving every day for the past several months as I’d watched mum slowly shutting down). On the morning of the funeral Liz, Mario, Mark and I went to the Chapel of Rest, at Archangel Funeral Services in Nicosia, to take a peek at mum and say our goodbyes privately, before following the hearse to the church. Wearing her best Marks and Spencer wool suit with an olive green sweater (her favourite colour and the colour of her eyes) mum looked as lovely as she could in the circumstances, with pastel coloured flower petals sprinkled around her.
The church service was well attended and many friends and relatives had sent flowers - there was even a wreath from Nicos Anastasiades! (though I doubt that he knew mum). My sister read out the eulogy which is reproduced here with a few minor additions:-
Our beloved mother was a remarkable and exceptional lady whom the Lord had gifted with many talents and qualities. She was generous and welcoming, kind and charitable, an incredible cook and a most talented dressmaker. Her home was always open house to anyone at any time; she was a wonderful mother, wife and home-maker. Mum was a woman who made friends wherever she went and she has left her mark on this world in more ways than one. She will be missed by many people.
According to her birth certificate, Mum was born on 6th January 1926 in the village of Agia Marina (Skillouras) here in Cyprus and was the second eldest of 6 children born to Marianna and Andonios Frangou. From an early age Mum began to display some of the qualities that would leave an imprint on her life and the lives of so many people.
She met our father, John Joseph (a tailor from Kormakitis), at a wedding here in Cyprus and they fell in love and were married. They spent their early years of marriage in Kormakitis where they had their first two children Elizabeth and Mario.
Times were hard and, like so many other Cypriots, they moved to London for a more prosperous life. John was a tailor in the world famous Saville Row and our mother spent days and nights at her sewing machine. They had their third child Rosanna in London and then moved to Nottingham where they bought a house and had their fourth child, Mark Anthony.
Sadly Mum was widowed at the young age of 40 when our father died following a tragic car accident. After this she could not settle and moved with the children to Cyprus. She loved Cyprus dearly and wanted to be close to her family here. This was before the Turkish invasion of the island and she bought a plot of land near Ayia Marina, intending to build a house here – alas this never happened as "all was lost in the invasion" and as we understand it, she had never been given the deeds to the land.
From Cyprus Mum moved to Tasmania in Australia where she lived in fairly close proximity to her brother Frangiscos and sister Yianoulla. However, following surgery in England to rectify a chronic slipped disc, mum decided to return to Nottingham on a more permanent basis. Or so she thought at the time because eventually mum returned to Cyprus where she spent the rest of her days - living alone in a house in Anthoubolis.
Around 3 years ago Mum developed Alzheimer’s and dementia and became a permanent resident at St Anthony’s Foundation Care Home in Anthoubolis. Early in 2012 we discovered that mum had terminal cancer; sadly she suffered a great deal with this terrible illness. Mum never complained and she bore her illness with tremendous dignity. She was very well cared for by the staff and we are grateful in particular to Grace who has cared for her as she would her own mother.
Mum had four children, nine grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Sadly three of her grandchildren have died already and gone before her to our Lord. Mum was devastated by the deaths of John, Stephen and Alex and never quite recovered from this tragedy.
Mum, who was a devout Maronite, used to enjoy listening to Rosanna reading from the bible and two weeks before mum died Rosanna opened her bible, which fell open by chance at the following passage from the Gospel of John Chapter 14:
“Do not be worried and upset”, Jesus told them. “Believe in God and also in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am.”
You died mum on the 19th December 2012 and we know where you are. You are in a good place with our Good Lord. Goodbye mum, we love you and miss you. Rest in Peace