There were so many things I had planned to write about this week. There was the fact that the Deadly West Brom Winger had scored a fantastic hat trick at the weekend in a 16-0 thrashing of some poor team who probably wished they hadn’t turned up; or there was the on-going saga of my Wii fit experiment that left me crippled for the week after just 2 days doing the yoga moves or even Mother’s Day which saw me sitting in casualty on Sunday evening after taking a nasty fall and sustaining a suspected broken right wrist – what a nightmare that was! (Turns out it was just a sprain but painful nonetheless).
No, today I am going to pay homage to the end of an era.
My grandfather’s younger brother, Ernest Godfrey James Shill passed away last weekend and with him went the last of a generation. As I sat next to my father in the crematorium today I couldn’t help
wiping the tears from my eyes as I thought about the people he had lost
and the emptiness he must feel. My grandfather, Robert passed away some 12 years ago, my grandmother, Kathleen just 2 years ago; my uncle, his only brother Leslie over 20 years ago. I gazed around the room at people I hardly knew, family I hardly knew, family who I had only ever remembered seeing at funerals. All connected but all so unfamiliar.
I don’t remember meeting Ernest or should I say “Curly’ – no-one ever knew him as Ernest. I learnt he had been a gun dog handler, a lover of country and western and big band music and he left behind him a wife, several children and 14 grandchildren. He had been one of 4 children all now sadly gone (I knew this as I have been researching our family tree on ancestry) and his father, Godfrey, my great-grandfather, I had been told by my father, was a lovely man. Having said that my grandfather was a lovely man, a real character with a wonderful manner and jovial to the core.
So it was with a saddened heart that I left the crematorium and said my goodbyes to people I hardly knew. I also dwelled on our family history, our family name, the SHILL name. My father, proud as he is of his 3 daughters, knows that our name will soon die out. My sister Maxine is unmarried and still bears the SHILL name but she will be the last Shill descendent from our known ancestors: Robert Shill (b.1796) and Sarah Shill (b 1791) and it is sad to think of it this way. Our future lies with our children, The Daniels’, The Hay’s, The Brady’s – all I can do is document it and ‘scrap’ it for them and their children so that our names and our histories will always be remembered long after we are gone.