My friend Honey lived an extra-ordinary life. She died before her time and we miss her. Trying to sum up such a life is impossible. Honey could be remembered as anyone of the following:
Honey the Artist – who sought to bring beauty to world, who sought to challenge and confront her audience, to ask them to stand back and observe or to move in to see the detail, to challenge their own perceptions.
It was Honey the Artist, I met first in Glasgow in 2000, she invited a bunch of students to watch some performance art in some downtown gallery. I believe she even promised a free glass or two of wine. So being a fan of a free drink, I trooped along. Little did I know that was how I would meet one of my greatest friends ever while being sworn at by a German eating Bratwurst. We shared many laughs and memories over the years, this brings me to the second Honey.
Honey the Friend – my friend Honey was a firm and mighty friend, putting herself out for those around her. Her friend, Marianne, who cannot be with us today, asked me to recall one of her fondest memories of Honey. After a serious operation in Brussels, Marianne needed some assistance getting around, Honey stepped up and organised a rota of friends to come around and take care of her.
She had a habit of producing some unusual gift for her friends, including a jar of Marmite on one occasion. She had an unusual sense of humour and anyone who saw her painted car Malcolm would certainly agree. Our friend had a generous spirit and a way of making things happen for her friends.
It was as a mother that Honey really came into her own. She took great pride in her beautiful children. They are the very expression of Honey, her creativity, her joy and sometimes her sheer devilment. In her children, I see Honey’s poise and grace, her creativity and curiosity, her playfulness and mischievousness. They are the very best of her. She took great solace in you. You gave her great comfort. In each of you I see part of your mother.
In her eldest daughter, I see Honey’s art, the beauty of creation, a beautiful young lady from afar and when you get to know her you see her, like her mother’s art you find complexity and sincerity that warms the soul.
In her son, her little man, I see the playful side of our Honey. Whenever I would visit Honey, I remember her son using me as a climbing frame. You have such joy in you, and you share it so generously, just like your mother.
Her little Pema, who I am just getting to know, you helped her mother fight, you gave her the energy to fight, you spurred her on to confound everything she was told. One of the things I will remember most about my friend was her spirit, her determination, her sheer will – she was fierce.
Another Honey – Honey the Warrior. After Honey was diagnosed with cancer, she was not given long to live, she fought, she fought hard, she survived. She endured pain. She kept going. She made sure her children would be well cared for.
To those of us charged with their care, help them remember their mother for the strong and complex woman that she was. For the sometimes daft and funny woman she could be. For the artist that she was. Know that we, her friends and loved ones, will be there to support you as you help these wonderful children grow and develop.
To those of us left saddened by Honey’s passing, I say remember! Remember her joy, remember her Spirit, remember her creativity, remember the friendship she gave each one of us. Our Honey was many things to many people: friend, counsel, lover, mother, foil and inspiration. Our lives are richer for having known her. We each have our own memories of Honey, hold them in your hearts, share them with her children, share them with each other and in doing so remember!
I will always love and miss my friend; she was taken from us too early. I know she does not suffer anymore. I know she is in a better place, I know that she is watching over us all, especially her children. May you grow to be like your mother, true of heart, creative and wise, fierce and determined and always thoughtful of others.
Honey was my friend and I will miss her but I feel her strength and love here today, so we do not say goodbye but see you later.
Wednesday, 21 September 2011
Honey, May 1974 - 6 September, 2011.
Eulogy at Honey's funeral by Patrick Devitt (I have taken the liberty of substituting Honey for her real name.)