This picture is how our family will probably remember Mum. This is the last time that much of her family and friends met her, at a family party she arranged for My Dad's 60th and my Sister's 21st. This night was a great family get-together, we all swapped the stories that we had to share since our last meeting. We all eat and drank to excess. In the days following this party, family members all commented what a great night it was. Mum glowed on this night.

People plan parties all the time, so why was this such a big deal? Well mum was quite ill with Fibrosing Alviolitis which meant she was on oxygen for most of the day and night, in fact, in the run up to this party, Mum was using the oxygen concentrator 24 hours a day. She was unable to get out and about and her mobility was limited by the little electric mobility scooter that she terrorised the residents of Great Barr with (is there such a term as granny racer? Mum would've been one in that scooter). But even with the scooter, Mum had difficulty planning a trip to the local shops because of her dependency on the extra oxygen, so planning a huge surprise party for my Dad and one of my Sisters was a big deal. Dad and Vicky were caught out a treat because they thought she couldn't manage to organise any event

However, Mum was determined to see the occasion celebrated. And we, as her family, will be eternally grateful that she gave us such a great night to remember her by. Because sadly, just 10 days later Mum lost her fight with her illness.

That party did more than leave us with fond memories, it summed up my Mum's courage and awareness of life. Though Mum suffered with a serious illness, it never defined her. Mum managed to show us the real person and not a person trapped by lung disorder. I'm not saying Mum didn't have her down days, but don't we all. For most people the only signs of her illness was the equipment she came to rely on, the oxygen and the mobility scooter. Without those things that Mum used to trivialise with humour (and she really was a terror on that scooter, I still expect to see a speeding fine come through with a photo of Mum in a speeding blur on her scooter) nobody would know she had been ill

So thanks Mum. Thanks for saying goodbye with the best night we've had in years. It meant we knew you were at peace. It meant we knew you were happy.

Mum was born in St John's, Newfoundland on the 14th of December 1947 to an English mother and Canadian father. It surprised me how few people knew about Mothers nationality. Her Canadian ancestry was something she was quite proud of. Moving to England as a child she grew in post war Bordesley Green. Cecelia was considered "too" Canadian so Sheila was thought to be an English translation. Bordesley Green was not the most prosperous of areas, and being joined by a brother and sister meant that money was tight and her childhood tougher than we might expect of working families today. She met my Dad when she was just 16. I think they got on quite well because when I appeared on the scene when Mum was 21. I think mother was keen on enjoying life in a larger family because Sue followed 5 years later, and Vicky 11 years after that. Sadly, in between me and Vicky mum suffered 4 miscarriages which devastated my Mum. However, as a child, I never knew this. She was as brave then as she was with her illness at the end.

Certain things will always remind me of Mum. She enjoyed needle work. From clothing to a plastic bag recycling tube, we have been on the receiving end of Mum's handywork. My house would probably be without curtains if it wasn't for Mum. And I think there are 3 words that will bring a smile to the face of anyone that knew her, they are "Car Boot Sale". Oh how she loved buying other peoples rubbish! But somehow Mum's practical skills would turn that rubbish into something that would grace the most stately of homes. Every time I hear the Everley Brothers I'll think of Mum. She enjoyed her music. Freddie and the Dreamers being another favourite band from her youth. She had the pleasure of meeting Freddie Garrity a couple of years back.

On the 17th of January 2006, Mum left behind a good number of people who'll miss her. Edward, her Husband. Me(Gary), Susan and Vicky her Children. Anne and Roy, her siblings. And the extended family and friends.

So, Goodbye Mum. And know that for two weeks in July, 5 men and a flat paper boy will all be Newfie.