Saturday, April 9, 2011

Elsienna Pieternella 'Ella' Van Hoorn

Yesterday we celebrated the life of Simon's grandmother who passed away on Monday. She was nearly 94 years old. Her and Simon's grandfather, Jakob (who passed away about in 1991) were the parents of 4 girls, 12 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren.

The grandkids - Aaron, Simon, Phillipa, Dion, Tammy, Craig, Sarah, Adrian, Estelle
(missing is Jamie, Penny and Jason)
It was a beautiful service in Devonport. Margaret's sister, Jannie spoke first about Nan's life, growing up in Holland and coming out to Australia with Jakob on the 19th of November, 1951. Margaret (Simon's Mum) being the oldest was 5 yrs old and they moved out with the next oldest girls Anneke and Willi with can you believe, a Harley Davidson and sidecart.(maybe that's where Simon gets his love of motorbikes from). Jannie was born out here. They first bought a farm at Caveside and then Kimberley. It was fascinating to hear about life growing up in Holland when WWII broke out and when the Germans invaded their homeland.

Willi, Margaret and Jannie (Anneke passed away in 1992)
I remember having a great conversation one day with Nan when she told me the story about how a German officer came to 'borrow' her bike and she was really upset because she did not expect to get it back. She said they used to ransack the houses and take whatever they wanted leaving a terrible mess behind. The next day the German officer returned with her bike and thanked her for letting him use it. She said it was the only time ever during the war that a German soldier ever did that and she was so surprised because they used the 'what's yours is mine' policy.

Margaret spoke next and she had collated memories from the 12 grandchildren about their favourite recollections of Nan. Simon said he loved her gravy and how she loved to have a chat about what was going on in his life. Most of the other grandkids mentioned the gravy too so it must have been something pretty special.

Willi spoke last mostly about Nan's character and her love for Jakob.

One of the best things was that Jason was able to set up the laptop so Penny could be skyped in the States and watch everything from home. She was able to see and hear the service, the interment and the refreshments afterwards. Sometimes technology can be the most amazing blessing.

At the graveside, Margaret had brought bubbles for the great-grandkids to blow and it was beautiful to see the bubbles travelling up in the sky toward heaven. I think Nan would have loved that very much to see the children smiling and laughing, entranced with the bubbles.

The grandkids were the pallbearers and it is the part that always gets me the most, when your loved one is carried and supported by their posterity, a final act of respect and love and service to the one that you love most dearly.

Children seem to fascinated by cemeteries and Jonty loved running up and down the rows, looking at the various flowers and memories placed there by loved ones.

The one behind Jonty and Simon was of a young boy about 11 and he had a windmill scooter set up for him. I stopped for a quiet moment with Jonty, humbled by the pain and sorrow that the cemetery held but grateful for the knowledge that families can be together again one day. As for Jonty, he was just fascinated by the scooter twirling in the wind.

I found this photo from back in 2004 when Sarra and Hallie were 3 and 1yr old. We had some lovely visits with Nan in her unit before she moved into the nursing home, only 5 yrs ago. She always offered us something to eat and drink and loved having a chat whilst bustling around her kitchen getting some lovely dutch biscuits out of her biscuit tin.

It was one of the most beautiful, peaceful services I have attended. Simon's Dad officiated and his closing remarks were very touching, simple beautiful words that I think touched the hearts of each of us. The music by Susan Boyle was very reflective and the photo presentation showing Ella and Jakob as young newly-weds and then in their later years was very moving, a fitting tribute to a wonderful mother, friend, sister, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Ella and Jakob on their engagement
See here for Tammy's post on Nan.


The Kings said...

I love the idea of the bubbles. I'm glad that your little man held out long enough so you could be there for it.

Anonymous said...

It was a beautiful service, and she had a really interesting life.
The music was just lovely.
Love Lorraine.