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I've done a fair bit of public and professional speaking, but this was the most difficult speech I have ever had to deliver.

Kathleen Joan Bowditch
September 15, 1921 - April 17, 2007

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Today is a time for weeping and mourning, but it is also a time for laughter (but maybe not dancing) as we celebrate a life. Mum would not want us to stop laughing.

The words I started with were written many generations before any of us were born, but they were taken by someone of Mumís generation, a man born just two years before Mum in 1919, and turned into a song of inspiration for many of my generation. What I want to talk about today is how one generation lives on by inspiring the next.

I donít believe in a spiritual afterlife, but I do believe that there are ways in which we do continue on beyond our earthly lives.

There is the clichť that we live on in the memories of those who knew us and loved us, and the evidence of this is here in this room today. We survive in the genetics of our descendants, and everyone here carries with them undeniable evidence of who their ancestors were. Another clichť is that to get good genes you need to choose your parents well. I was lucky in the parents I chose for another reason, because another way we live on is in the values and principles that pass between generations.

A song which is quintessentially of my generation is Teach Your Children by Graham Nash, which instructs members of both generations to teach the other well and feed them on their respective dreams, but what many people donít hear in that song is the very faint counter melody to the second verse which contains the words:

Teach your children what you believe in.
Make a world that we can live in.

Mum and Dad taught me what they believed in. They built a world that I could live in.

I was taught from an early age that there are people who donít look like me, aren't the same colour as me, donít speak like me, donít eat the food I eat, but are just like me.

I was taught that women are no different to men except in physical strength. (A woman canít lift a bag of potatoes.)

I was taught that religion and spirituality are matters of personal choice and should not be predetermined by the family or society into which you happen to be born.

I was taught that books are to be read, not banned or censored.

I was taught that people should be treated with respect, fairness, compassion and equity.

I was taught that education is important.

I was taught that you can be broke and still be happy.

But most of all I was taught that love can be unconditional and can survive through hardship and trial.

Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

Mum lives on in the things she taught me about how to live my life.

I would like to finish with another song, one definitely of Mumís generation, which describes love better than I ever could. This is not just any old song, but was played at Mum and Dadís wedding. Itís Iíll Walk Beside You by Alan Murray and Edward Lockton. I have the words here and I could read them out to you, but I wonít because I couldnít, and I think you can understand what I mean by that.

As the song plays I would invite you to reflect on your memories of Mum, and perhaps to join me in saying goodbye by placing a flower on the casket.

Goodbye, Mum. Iíll walk beside you through the land of dreams.


The songs.

Turn, Turn, Turn
by Pete Seeger
Listen to Pete Seeger

Listen to The Byrds

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time for peace, I swear its not too late

Teach Your Children
by Graham Nash
Listen to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good bye.

Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

And you, of tender years,
Can't know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.

Counter Melody To Above Verse:
Can you hear and do you care and
Cant you see we must be free to
Teach your children what you believe in.
Make a world that we can live in.

Teach your parents well,
Their children's hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

Iíll Walk Beside You
by Alan Murray and Edward Lockton
Listen to Carla Hendriks (vocal) and Ken Morgon (piano)

I'll walk beside you through the world today
While dreams and songs and flowers bless your way
I'll look into your eyes and hold your hand
I'll walk beside you through the golden land

I'll walk beside you through the world tonight
Beneath the starry skies ablaze with light
And in your heart loveís tender words
I'll hide I'll walk beside you through the eventide

I'll walk beside you through the passing years
Through days of cloud and sunshine, joy and tears
And when the great call comes, though sunset gleams
I'll walk beside you through the land of dreams.


Copyright © 1998- Peter Bowditch

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