Ceremony for dear Mamy,
Basilique de Notre Dame de Bon Secours,
We are all gathered here in this beautiful Basilica which our dear Mamy loved so much, to pay a final tribute and bid ‘Au Revoir’ to Marie-Magdeleine, our dear Mother, Grandmother, Great-grandmother, Aunt and Cousin.
There are not enough words to describe the life of Marie-Magdeleine, who would have reached 100 years of age next year – her great courage, her love, and always thinking of the needs of others. She supported her husband, Yann, our Father, when his struggle for the cause of Brittany resulted in very difficult challenges; and especially in the most difficult times, she had a strength of character which helped us all overcome the difficulties and continue on our journey.
She was a great traveller, ready to take the plane, train or car to rejoin family members scattered in the four corners of the world; her visits to Africa to visit her brother Paul who lived in Johannesburg, and subsequently to visit Rozenn and Jim when they were living in Zimbabwe, and then in Botswana and Swaziland.
Often accompanied by Papa or on her own, she visited me in all the countries where I was posted – Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, where I remember as if it was yesterday the Protocol waiting for her at the airplane steps in Havana with a beautiful bouquet of flowers; when we saw from the airplane window the people waiting at the bottom of the steps, we wondered who was the ’Star’ traveling with us; it turned out to be my dear Mamy who was the ’Star’ they were waiting for to present her with the flowers and to welcome her; and then to South Africa where she had the joy of meeting Nelson Mandela, and one of her last trips which was to Slovenia where I was posted from 2002 to 2005.
After the journey that both undertook to the United States of America during my stay there in 1983, Mamy wrote a travel diary of their visit. This was the first of several diaries which she kept of her travels, which I brought together in a book entitled “Travels with Marie-Magdeleine”, which was printed to mark her 99th birthday on 1st June last.
But she also wrote many letters to all the family; it was the link which united all the family members together. Her letters were often written with a lot of humour , and with news of all the members of the family; she would use the entire space of the page, which invariably meant that we would have to turn the page in all different ways so as to be able to read all that she had written. That was part of her artistic nature, a trait she shared with her brothers and sisters of the Mauger family.
At the age of 83 years she started to write her ‘Memoires’, written with a lot of humour and poetry; some extracts will be read by my sisters during the ceremony. This will be my next project – a second book bringing together her ‘Memoires’ .
In Connemara which she dearly loved, she created a home full of warmth and love where we all grew up. She loved the sea, and would swim both in sunshine and under the rain, with one of her last swims taken on the beach in front of our home in Connemara when she was already over 80 years of age. She would go for long walks every day until she could no longer walk shortly after her second hip operation when she was already living with me in Brussels and where she stayed until the end. She smoked two packets of cigarettes a day from an early age; in fact whenever our friends would ask about her, their first question was whether she still smoked as much. Even the producer of cigarettes in Slovenia had asked me if he could use Mamy’s photo for his publicity… and then she stopped smoking all of a sudden after her hip operation.
She loved music, especially concerts and opera which we listened to together before she would go to bed; some of her favourite pieces we will listen to during the ceremony. It was only Friday last, three days before she gave her last breath, that we listened together to the popular song which she loved so much “Oh Mamy Oh Mamy Blue”.
Before going to sleep, we would pray together with the ‘Hail Mary’, and we would invoke the memory of all the family members as well as Saint Yves to watch over us.
Your spirit and your love will always remain with us. Together with Papa, may you watch over us until we meet again in the other world.
Dearest Mamy, Adieu, until we meet again.