Tribute to Doris Wilson
Always my Aunty Doris
I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts
for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength
I stand and watch her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come
to mingle with each other
and someone at my side says ‘She is gone.’
Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large now as when I last saw her. Her diminished size and total loss from my sight is in me, not in her.
And just at that moment, when someone at my side says she is gone, there are others who are watching her coming over their horizon and other voices take up a glad shout – There she comes!
That is what dying is ~a horizon and just the limit of our sight.
We have come together this afternoon to thank God for the life of a remarkable lady, Doris Catherine Wilson, but to me always my aunty Doris, the best storyteller I ever knew!!
I am honoured to speak on behalf of the family and pay tribute to someone who played such a special part in all our lives. Doris was special; she was a people person. She was someone who believed in people.
We come together today not only to mourn her passing but also to celebrate her life.
Doris was born on 5th December 1921 to William and Florence Surringer who lived in Sophia Street in Tiger Bay, Cardiff. Life in that part of the city was tough in those days. Doris grew up well cared for and loved. She was married at 18 years of age to William Wilson, who was home on leave from the forces. Straight after the wedding he was called away to serve his country in Gibraltar for two years.
Bill and Doris were blessed with 5 wonderful children, Billy, Ian, Jamie, Neil and Barbara.
During the war years Doris worked in a shop, whilst beginning the job of raising her family.
After the war she skilfully balanced the needs of her growing family with a full time job in Lloyds Foundry in Cardiff. It was hard, hot and heavy work where her job as a pourer brought her into close proximity to the furnaces… It also brought her into close proximity to a close group of friends and each day Doris would cook their breakfast and lunch on the brazier in the foundry. She loved to look after people ~ people were her life! This was evident all the way through her life. Children were everything, especially her own children, who remained so close to her right to the end.
Doris had a generous heart. At one time she was in hospital receiving treatment. In an adjoining bed was a young Algerian lady called Aziadi with her daughter Nesli. She was a stranger but on hearing of her child care difficulties Doris offered to look after the young Nesli while Aziadi was at her studies. Later on when the family had to move out of their flat, again Doris came to the rescue and gave the family a home for over a year – a huge commitment that just typifies Doris’s caring ways. Nesli now lives in Edinburgh and Aziadi is back home in Algeria, but there will always be a very special place in their hearts for ‘Nanny Doris’.
Doris made everyone feel special and everyone was special to her. She was wonderful at caring for people – her dear husband Bill in his later life needed many months of full time care as did her mum, my Nan ~ Doris freely gave that care at no thought to her own health needs. She would never hear talk of putting them in hospital or a home; she would look after them, come what may. She probably saved the NHS many thousands of pounds. When the doctor came calling he would often refer to their little house in Llanedeyrn as Mrs Wilson’s Ward. She had Bill in one room and her mum in another both receiving the very best care!
Testimony to her loving care for those she loved!
Doris was a survivor and overcame a number of great sadnesses in her life.
- In 1966 there was the motorcycle accident involving her youngest boy Neil It left him with severe difficulties throughout his life.
- In 1992 the loss of Ian in tragic circumstances, followed by her husband Bill and then her mum and in more recent times the passing of Neil, took its toll. Throughout she endeavoured to remain strong, the rock on which her family could rely. She never let them down and she has left them with a remarkable legacy. She was so proud of her family. She leaves 9 grandchildren
- Jeanette and Paul
- Craig and Debbie
- Tracey and David
- Joanne and Nicola
- …. and one adopted (Unofficial) granddaughter Vicky. To all you grandchildren I will, say this you were all special to your Nan; treasure her memory.
and 11 Great grandchildren
- Michelle, David, Emily and Jake, Jack, Kyle, Rachel, Ross, Grant, Mere Florence and Lucca (the twins!!) As you grow up I hope you will appreciate what a great person your great grandmother was!
The family have asked me to pass on their thanks too to some very special people in Doris’s life.
- Joyce, Neil and Caroline and their children Rees and Donna. Joyce met Doris when she became carer for Bill during his long illness and I am sure you are not surprised that she soon became a close family friend, Doris was like that. Joyce, Neil and graham from the bottom of our hearts… Thank you for your love and kindness.
- Val from Monmouth. They met by accident but in recent times Val would travel from Monmouth almost every day to see Doris and make sure she was OK. Val ~ thank you. Your kindness was appreciated.
Doris believed in God and now she is at rest with her heavenly Father, which is far better.
I leave you with another poem, which I believe Doris could have written herself…
She is gone.
We can shed tears that she is gone
or we can smile because she has lived.
We can close our eyes and pray that she’ll come back
or we can open our eyes and see all she’s left for us to remember.
Our hearts can be empty because we can’t see her
or they can be full of the love we shared together.
We can turn our back on tomorrow and live for yesterday
or we can be happy for tomorrow because of our yesterdays.
We can remember her and only that she’s gone
or we can cherish her memory and let it live on.
We can cry and close our minds, be empty and turn our backs
or we can do what she would want:
Open our eyes,
Love each other…
…and go on.
The following letter was written by Tracy Scheff, Aunty Doris’s granddaughter who lives in the U.S.A. Tracey would have loved to have been present at the funeral, but it was not possible. This very personal and loving letter shows clearly the love between this incredible lady and the granddaughter who treasured her! In recognition of the 10 year anniversary of losing, Doris I attach it here with Tracy’s permission.
My letter to Nanny.
February 15, 2007
To my Nanny,
My heart is broken today. I lost my beloved Nanny Wilson. My true Nanny, my favorite Nanny, my special Nanny. Even though you were 3,000 miles away, you were always very close to my heart. I always wished you lived here in the US with me and my other grandmother was living in Wales.
From the moment I met you, I felt an instant connection even though I was only three years old. You were everything a perfect grandmother is but much more. You were caring, witty, sensitive but strong, compassionate, smart, loving, you had a tremendous love for your family, you had this fire inside that you would do ANYTHING for your children, grandchildren, family, friends, other children in need, you were selfless, always caring about other people, you never forgot a birthday, holiday, or special event. I can go on and on. I admire your qualities and strive to be just like you. I feel like we share so many of those qualities. I’m proud you are my grandmother.
All of my memories of you are fond ones. From my first visit to Wales at three, I remember the special room you had made up just for your grandchildren. From the baby dolls, to the little cars I used to play with on the mat in front of your front glass door, I remember how the light would shine through and make different colors on the mat, to the little white peddle car with the big red number on it. I loved that car, I wanted to take on the road, but I remember only being allowed to play with it on your patio, it was still fun anyway.
I remember my second visit when I was nine. You had a Birthday party just for me, with decorations and cake. I felt so special. I remember you giving me money to go to the local store and get my favorite strawberry yogurt. I think I ate all of the ones you had in your refrigerator. I remember you and Granfy making my favorite toast with the bread you had to cut and the yummy butter slathered on.
I remember my third visit when I was 18, you couldn’t believe how much I’ve grown. You kept thinking I was a little girl. I remember and miss your squeeze hugs. I do the same thing to my children all of the time. I squeeze them tight not wanting to let go.
I have nothing but fond memories. Memories that make me smile. I remember how much you spoiled my children. I remember the packages you sent, the candy, the clothes. I felt bad for just the amount of money it cost you just to send the package alone, but knew you enjoyed it.
I remember your visits to the US. I remember what you had to go through to get on a plane and be in a car for a long period of time. I knew how claustrophobic you were, but you didn’t let that stop you. I couldn’t wait to spoil you. It was now my turn. I loved getting you presents, especially trying to make sure whatever I bought said “made in the USA”. I wouldn’t dare buy you anything that said “made in France”. I loved buying you things that meant something special to you. I know how much you loved photos, so I always made sure it had something to do with photos. Whether it was the locket I got you with a picture of David and me in it or the wooden photo box that I had engraved for you.
I have a special gift for that you I was not able to send to you in time. I’m very sad that you didn’t get to see it because I know you would have loved it. It is a tin of butterscotch candy (I know how much of a sweet-tooth you have) with a picture of Corey, Kyle, Rachel and myself in front of the Disney World Cinderella Castle scanned right onto the tin. I will save the tin and always remember you when I look at it. I will keep it exactly the way it is and not let anyone ever touch a piece of candy in it. It is for you.
My heart aches, my tears flow, but I am comforted to know that you are looking down from heaven with Granfy, Uncle Ian and Uncle Neil. When Rachel and Kyle asked why I was crying when I found out about your passing, I told them that Nanny Wilson is in heaven and you have another guardian angel watching over each of you. I will teach my children all about you and what an amazing, wonderful, caring, strong great-grandmother they had.
I hope you know how much you meant to me, how much I love you and thought the world of you. I will miss you, never forget you and always remember you. I love you my Nanny. I will not say goodbye, but see you again one day.
Love your granddaughter,