This post is the eulogy that was written by my Nan for Mum’s funeral, delivered by celebrant Ellie Lomas.
“On behalf of the family, I would like to welcome you to this special ceremony as we celebrate the life of a wonderful lady, Sue Szumowski. Any kind donations, in memory of Sue, will benefit Cancer Research UK and the MacMillan Unit at Christchurch Hospital. Sue was so adored and respected and today we will hear from some of the people who knew her best as we remember her life and reflect on what she will always be to you all.
We will now take some time to remember Sue’s life. A great deal of the following tribute has been written by Sue’s loving Mum, Pat.
A lovely daughter, a little black-eyed Susie. She was late coming into the world and now she’s leaving early. Born on the 2nd of August 1963, the second child of Michael and Pat Geary. She was born, brought up with her brother, Mike, and schooled in Battersea, South London. She was bright, willing and biddable as a child and never caused much concern growing up. Sadly, Sue’s father died when she was just 2 years old. Later, Pat married John and he became a much-admired father figure, with great respect on both sides.
She passed her 11 plus exam and went to Rosa Basset Grammar School in Tooting. Here she met her friend Caroline, and they remained friends for the rest of her life. Sue’s first job was with Barclays Bank, where she passed her entrance exam with 100% when she was only 15, and not old enough to take up the position they offered her, she had to wait until her 16th birthday to start the job.
After about 5 years at the bank, Sue changed direction and went to the Post office as a counter clerk, where she received an award for bravery when she activated the alarm in the face of an armed gunman and foiled the robbery. In fact, Sue also foiled a robbery at Barclays and, knowing that forged credit cards had a certain smell about them, she helped to stop numerous fraudsters in their tracks.
Sue married Ed in 1988 and two years later, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Krystina. Sadly, the baby died at 4 and a half months old from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome; a terrible shock for all the family. However, the following year, James was born, and Rosie three years later, Sue’s family was then complete. Sue was a wonderful Mum. She adored her children and loved family time. She loved cooking and made sure Rosie could make a lasagne from scratch by the time she was 10.
When the marriage with Ed broke up, Sue put all her energy into bringing up her children and when her Mum and John moved to Dorset, she followed down the following year. Sue was fortunate to get a job with ‘Farrow and Ball’, where she worked for 18 years. Sue was really well liked and respected there and got to work with some high profile clients, including Scarlett Johansson…the family liked to tease Sue that they were best friends. She made some great friends along the way and loved to attend the Christmas parties, always happy to be the designated driver.
When Sue met Cliff, her life changed. The children were growing up and doing well at school and at last she had found a life partner. They did lots of travelling together and visited Turkey and Italy, as well as France. Sue spoke and read French to a good standard, but Cliff does not. Never being one to let an opportunity for a joke pass her by, Sue took Cliff to a restaurant where he ordered a steak. He did not know whether the meat was beef or horse but Sue did, she knew full well, but she never let on. Cliff is still in the dark as to what he ate that day!
Sue was so loved and cherished. She will certainly be remembered for her love of a good time and her big smile. She had a wonderful sense of humour and loved to get dressed up with perfectly applied make up and go out with her friends, always relishing a chance to celebrate with her family and friends.
Sue fought so bravely since her diagnosis in December 2016 and was cared for with so much love and devotion by her family. Her suffering is now over.”