Natural Burial Meadow

Hi folks

We have planted a tree at a spot in memory of mum. The tree itself is Cherry – it will blossom beautifully and we think mum would approve! Here is a link to the location:

http://www.aylesburynaturalburials.co.uk/location.html

I imagine most will arrive via the Aylesbury – Princes Risborough route. You turn off the A4010 on to the A4009 (Lower Ickneld Way) towards Longwick. After about a mile there is a right hand turn signposted towards Meadle and ‘Farm shop’. The burial meadow is a couple of hundred yards beyond the farm shop and on the left. Mum loved the farm shop – they have several rare breeds on site and a lovely Cafe and shop – it’s simple and friendly and was one of the few places she could still visit as it isn’t crowded and the risk of infection was low. Should you visit the meadow and require a warm Cafe and drink after I  recommend it.

As you head in the gate, Aoiffe’s cherry tree is along the drive to the right. There is also a bench just to the left of the gate. As you can see there’s plenty of space to sit by the tree, although I would take a picnic blanket or camping chair! If you wish to leave flowers feel free as long as they are real and will naturally break down. Naomi, James and I will scatter mum’s ashes at the foot of the tree at a later date. First we have a son/nephew to welcome into the world…due early May!

IMPORTANT – the car park is behind a locked gate and the company would prefer that the code remain a closely guarded secret (they have valuable rare breeds grazing on the meadow). They have said that you are welcome to park on the road and use the side gate.

Slideshow

I have added another page to this blog – if you look to the top right of this blog you will see the link to ‘Aoiffe’s slideshow’. This was up during the celebration. Some had asked if I could send it to them. It’s 29MB in size so I can’t email it out easily. You can now click on the link (and then again on the link on the next page) to download the slideshow for yourselves if you wish.

Many thanks to everyone who contributed words and images, some of which may not have appeared in the slides, but all were gratefully received. x

Phil

Thanks!

A huge thank you to everyone who has been in touch regarding the funeral and celebration tomorrow. We know many people will come from a distance, and Naomi, James and I can appreciate what that means. So many people have chipped in helping organise, spread the word, bringing food and providing us with memories and photos that are invaluable as we seek to celebrate mum’s sense of community.

Thank you all for sharing in this, Aoiffe will be looking down and chuckling at us all tomorrow. As you know she wanted the day to be a celebration of the times that we had, and in expression of that Aoiffe wanted people to avoid wearing black. That said, she knew that turning up and sharing, however you feel comfortable is of greater importance. (I’ll be in my pink shirt and tie, the colour mum loved, and if anyone is feeling unsure as to how much colour is appropriate let me reassure you that Joseph and his technicolour coat wouldn’t be too much for mum!) but come as you feel comfortable, with a flower for the funeral.

Mums stuff 038

For the celebration we will be bringing some of mum’s books – she has a library full – for people to take away as a memory of Aoiffe. Mum loved the idea of passing books along and to share this with people will suit her down to the ground. (She gave us each a book as well as an egg at Easter). Any book you spot that would serve as a memory or an interest please take, and pass along again if or when you see fit. We will also have a collection for The Florence Nightingale Hospice, with whom mum found great rest, peace and joy in these last few years, and who helped tremendously towards mum being able to continue living as full a life as possible.

“Go in peace! I will not say; do not weep; for not all tears are an evil”

-Gandalf 

Iona

Iona was a special place for Mum. She loved the wild countryside, the extraordinary colours of the pebbles and the simple, honest and friendly Abbey community. The pebbles were a natural form of art for mum, and a connection with nature that she could hold on to even when she was indoors. As you have seen/will see, Mum spent a huge amount of time outdoors as she grew up. She was a keen horserider and ensured that this was passed on to us in many forms – horseriding, blackberry picking, letterboxing in the new forest, digging holes in the garden, playing football….

As a place, Iona brought all these things closer for her again, as well as having a majestic spirituality. I thought I would share some of Mum’s pictures as few people will have known Iona, although I daresay many have heard of it!

Funeral and Celebration

Aoiffe Harris’s funeral will be held on Friday 1 April, 2.30pm at Amersham Crematorium (address is detailed below on the blog). A celebration of her life will be held afterwards from 4pm at St Joseph’s School, Hazell Avenue,  Aylesbury, HP21 7JF. Plenty of parking is available – you will see signs for parking. Access to the celebration will be through the schools main entrance.

There will be family flowers only, however if you would like to make a donation please make these out to Florence Nightingale Hospice and post or bring in person to Church View Funeral Directors, The Old Bank, 46 Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 2LL.

Mum had several wishes regarding her funeral. To honour her wishes where possible, please bring to the funeral service one flower or something that represents the natural world (for example a twig!). There will be a basket at the service to collect these. The family are planting a tree in mums memory at the Natural Burial Meadow just outside Aylesbury, our intention is to place these round the tree.

There will be a bowl of Iona stones placed at the service. Mums wish was that we all take a stone away with us at the end as a memory of her. Iona inspired mum with its wild natural beauty and passionate Christian community and spirit.

Mums keenest wish was that we avoid black clothing as much as possible to ensure life is celebrated in all its colour.

At the celebration there will be a table of books that mum collected over the years. Mum would take great pleasure in being able to pass on her joy of these. Please feel free to take one away with you as a memory. If you wish to make a voluntary donation for a book, please see above details regarding donations.

Where feasible please can you email celebratingaoiffe@gmail.com to let the family know that you will be attending the funeral service and/ or the celebration of her life – just helps keep track of numbers!

If you have any memories of mum that you are happy to share, please email the address for collation, or alternatively post them in any comment section of the blog yourselves. We are collating photos of her life and if anyone has any that they wish to share, please also send an email or upload to the blog yourselves.

Thank you, Phil, Naomi and James.

Birthday wishes

Among other things (like changing her name) mum also decided that she would change her birthday. If she was going to celebrate time in her life she sure wan’t going to do it in winter, when days are short and everyone was weary following Christmas and getting back into a work routine, so she moved her birthday to the 21st of March, a time near Easter and new life. Daffodils symbolised everything that was important to mum.

To honour her incredible outlook and wishes we are looking into a natural burial. We have a place in mind and are sorting specific details. Mum wished for James, Naomi and I to do something that held meaning for us as she is already where she wanted to be. We wish to keep the location close to Aylesbury as we feel we are far flung and not entirely settled (James and I at least!) and that mum’s community is here. We will make sure that we have a place of inspiration and quiet reflection. Mum was able to achieve these things in simple conversation and we have found a resting place that will help anyone who wishes to visit find these qualities once again. I will of course post the details here.

Phil

Comments

Apologies to anyone who has wished to share a comment…I had a setting active that prevented them, and was away and out of Wifi range yesterday. This is now solved….please feel free to share your memories.

We will post a few details regarding the funeral arrangements etc in the next couple of days. Thank you all so much for your kind words.

Celebrating Aoiffe

Hello folks!

Although we are saddened at the passing of our mum, we have really appreciated the support from everybody. This blog has the purpose of keeping everybody Aoiffe knew informed regarding funeral plans.

We would like to collect more images and memories of Aoiffe. We would really appreciate it if you could share your fond moments of your time with Aoiffe. We are aiming to put these together in a display of photos and written memories at a celebration, held immediately after the funeral service, but having them here would delight mum in that people have a way of sharing even before we are able to come together on 1st April. Please email your memories to us at the email address to the right, or post them in the comments section of any post that appears here on the blog.

The celebration will involve sharing food and drinks. Mum would have loved a celebration of her life to be a gathering of people sharing with each other. If you would like to contribute by bringing something to eat/drink that would be amazing; just let us know what you are able to provide in an email.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20, NIV). Jesus may claim this verse, but I suspect that Aoiffe will remain with us in much the same way.

Phil