Today I went to the funeral of my great-aunt.
Yes, another one. This is the third since Christmas - they seem to go in waves. And I have - or used to have - a lot of them. My four grandparents had no less than 25 siblings between them, so when you add in the spouses...yeah, that's a lot of great-uncles and great-aunts. Every time we bury one, I think surely there can't be many left, and then I do a headcount and realise...yeah, still quite a few to go.
So today we buried Aunty Eileen, my maternal grandfather's youngest sister, aged 75. It was a nice service. Her husband John cried all the way through, which made me very emotional because...well honestly, I defy anyone to watch an 80-year-old man weeping for the wife he'd loved for the best part of 60 years and not have a tear in their eye!
I always like to write up a bit of a tribute after these things, for the genealogical tag of my journal, so this is Eileen:
Eileen was the youngest of three children born to my great-grandparents Billy and Beattie, the other two being Phyllis and my granddad Reg (pictured in this icon). When Eileen was 15 her 20-year-old neighbour John told her he wanted to marry her someday and she said no...only to change her mind a few years later; they were married 55 years. After their marriage, Eileen and John lived with Eileen's parents Billy and Beattie in their house on Ferry Road, Cardiff.
This is John outside the house on Ferry Road - with my great-granddad's 'chimney sweep' sign up behind him. After my great-grandparents died, Eileen and John bought the house and still lived there until fairly recently.
Phyllis and her husband Brian also lived in the house on Ferry Road, so when my Mum lost her mother and her dad took her back home to live with his parents...well, it was a bit of a squash in that house for a few years there. My poor Mum had to share a room with her dad, with a curtain strung up down the middle of it to give them a bit of privacy! At least until Phyllis and her family moved out. None of them had any money, but they did have a lot of love - a real, old-fashioned Grangetown family.
Here's Eileen with her mother Beattie and with my 9-year-old Mum shortly after she lost her mother and moved to Ferry Road to live with them.
Eileen went out to work, so her mother looked after the children - with my mum generally lumbered with babysitting duties in the evenings. Eileen liked a drink, in spite of being on barbituates for epilepsy, and she loved parties and dancing and friendship and fun. She had three children and a whole stack of grandchildren and great-grandchildren and loved her family immensely, feisty and fierce. Her funeral today came on the 12th anniversary of her sister Phyllis's death, much to the sorrow of Phyl's three children.
And that's another one lost to cancer. My granddad, both of his sisters, both of their parents, plus every one of their uncles and aunts not lost to the war...it doesn't bode well, really.
RIP, Aunty Eileen.