I meet a lot of families through my work and my time with them is short, but I care about them all and often wonder how they’re getting on.
A few months ago I worked alongside a family as they said goodbye to a brilliant lady called Gloria. Leading Gloria’s funeral arrangements were her lovely grandchildren, Brynley and Keali. I will always remember them because their relationship with their Nan was a rare and beautiful thing.
Gloria was eighty when she died, but she was young at heart in a way I can only aspire to be. She was funny as anything, had travelled the world with her soulmate and was winning rowing competitions at the gym in her seventies.
I also suspect that she may have discovered the secret to true contentment.
These were the words I wrote for the end of her service.
Gloria was very happy with a pen in her hand. Whether it was circling programmes in the TV Guide, writing letters to her family in Canada or making notes about the day’s activities, Gloria believed in getting things down on paper.
If you look through her old calendars and diaries, you’ll see she’s made a touching little note at the end of the day that reads, “Good day today.” Turn the page and you’ll see she’s written, “Another good day.”
You see, Gloria, wise as she was, actively looked for the happiness in life. Whether it was the joy of learning something new, connecting with a stranger, laughing hard or loving her family with all her heart, Gloria knew that she could always find something that would make it a “Good day today”.
Just three little words, so simple on their own, yet so powerful when you collect them together. Because over a lifetime, those good days become good weeks, good months, and good years.
The really special thing is that if Gloria had been stood here today, heard all of your tributes and memories and felt the depth of your love and gratitude, she’d know exactly what to do. With peace in her heart, she’d turn the calendar to the final page, pick up her pen and write just three little words: “A good life.”
This morning I opened my email to find a message from her grandson. It read:
Hi Christine, I hope you are well. I just wanted to say that the words you wrote about my Nan writing “a good life” in her calendar were so lovely that I had them included in a tattoo I got in memory of her.
Good day today folks.
Photograph and words published with kind permission from Gloria’s family.