Sitting in the circle with our memories and our grief.
Many years ago early in Shallal we have a phase of grief: Marjorie's husband, Zoe's father Roy died, my mother died suddenly unexpectedly aged 59, Tim Churchman's brother Tony aged 14 died from an accident, he fell down the quarry in Newlyn, and Diana Morris' mother also died ( Diana was our first administrator/ supporter and all round inspiration, and set the bar for our ethos and beliefs).
It was a tough year!
Eileen Inge Herzberg another dear friend, who survived a heart attack and came back renewed and dancing, also died unexpectedly while travelling in India just over 10 years ago. We created our show Mind the gap in memory of her.
So, great art is often created in memory of people. What do we do to give thanks, honour them? It's early days.
We have been so grateful for Marjorie, in the early days of Shallal she was an unflinching support and continued to be. Right from our start she came with Zoe and loved it as much as Zoe did, making new friends, supporting and encouraging and available for every outreach, every show, utterly reliable. You can build wonderful things on that dedication and tenacity and Shallal was built on that.
In Shallal we often dance in memory of those we love. Mothers and Daughters was created for Marjorie and Zoe and Kathleen and Christie. I have been bringing the music out and sharing the simple instruction: 'dance for each other, one watches, one dances, take turns'.
I am daunted by thinking of rummaging through our thousands of photographs, as i know there are many gems of Marjorie, I'd like to find.
I haven't time yet and yet should try to before next Friday.
For now i think i will print out the information( dates and times for the celebration of her life and the cremation service) and 2 photographs for today and make cake ( again if i have time!)
In the tradition i live my life in, the day you die is your birthday into eternity/heaven and is remembered every year, with special prayers and koliva.
After Roy died Marjorie and Zoe who had such hard grief met Kerry Lawrence (who i then co-ran Shallal with). They met on a Sunday morning and Kerry said, "I'm going to church at St Peter's." Marjorie who was a staunch socialist had little time for such things before, however they went along and from then on St Peter's church and it's loving community was their home. Marjorie took care of all hall bookings and Zoe is a reader and server in the church. Marjorie once said to me, "dancing is prayer".
From my mothers death i learnt that you can only really see what someone gave and how many lives they touched when they are no longer there! However love doesn't die and they are with us, part of us reaches out to eternity where they are.
It was an extraordinary honour to be at Marjorie's death with Zoe, i never expected it. And an extraordinary honour and privilege to have spent so many years together in the family of Shallal.
Marjorie fought for what she believed in, she was in the local Mencap group for many years: fundraising, awareness raising, championing peoples rights.
A washing line most people think
Is to hang out your clothes to dry
But mine is special, I peg on mine
My special thoughts, my hopes, my fears
A dried red rose from my wedding bouquet
My first mothers day card, specially made
A valentines card, some photographs from long ago
when I was young and slim
Such memories they bring me
My dreams, my hopes, my prayers
These are the things that you will find upon my washing line.
by Marjorie Wilton