18th Century Diary
Every day life from days gone by
Dear Syblings thinking of you.
Iím sad to be sending my condolences for the loss of your darling Sybil, but also thinking with huge affection of the best joint mother-in-law and grandmother I could ever have wished for who brought so much gentleness, love and understanding to our extended families.
With all my love
Dear Chantal, Claire, Robin, Ros & Tom,
We send our sincere condolence for your loss. We are not sure if we shall ever meet another person so kind and good, a person having lived such an interesting full life, yet so modest and thoughtful toward others especially her family.
To Richard, Sybil was his “mŤre adoptťe”, filling a void in his life since losing his own mother. She was a true friend to us both for some ten years.
We already miss seeing Sybil each year, the regular shopping trips done together and visits to mutual friends. She was always up to date with family news which was related with motherly pride over a cuppa or meal enjoyed together. In fact it’s through Sybil that we have had the pleasure of meeting you all.
Each time we drove through St. Michel we had the habit of turning to check if the shutters were open, the TV aerial was still securely fixed in place, or any sign of our friend. We remember with nostalgia the long summer months when each year we could look forward to Sybil being in residence at Place Saint-Pierre. Routine journeys now bring a mixture of sadness and at the same time, joy of having had the privilege of knowing Sybil. A chapter has closed in our lives, but her remembrance occupies a place in our hearts.
As you know, until recent years Sybil was an avid writer, making regular diary entries of her life over much of her (almost) 95 years. I know that Tom mooted the intention to collect together this rich history of events, such would make a passionate biography of the international life of a truly wonderful lady.
With deep regret,
Valerie & Richard
Dear Claire, Robin, Chantal, Ros and Tom
What sad news that Sybil passed very peacefully on Tuesday 1st June 2021. I‚Äôm glad it was loving and tranquil at the end, and she was at home. Your presence must have been a great comfort to her. All she will have wanted was for you to be there.
At least in these strange times of pandemic and lockdowns, you have been able to keep and maintain regular contact with everyone. I have appreciated your regular updates, thank you. And please know, that your emails of the last few weeks show tremendous love and thought for Sybil and her every need. You have done everything you possibly could have done for her. She looked so peaceful and faraway in the last photograph. She was loved by you and by all.
Sybil was a very kind, warm hearted and generous person. Never a harsh word for anyone. She got on with everyone, was outward looking and definitely knew a great many people. I will always cherish her memory.
Our respective families go back a long way to when we were neighbours in London. There was also the connection with and understanding of life in the Middle East. You lived abroad in Kuwait and other countries for many years, whilst my father worked in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. At the time, the infrastructure of these countries was being built and not many people understood the expatriate life with all its difficulties, restrictions, as well as benefits and outlook on life. Or, how difficult it could be to adjusting to life back in the UK. What a full life Sybil had and wonderful experiences to recall.
In 1990 or thereabouts, Sybil very kindly invited myself and Luke to stay with her, Tom and her friend, in her house in Provence. We were much younger then and healthier, judging by the photograph that she sent me this Easter. It was a lovely holiday and one to cherish and remember. You all have such wonderful culinary skills with a genuine interest in world cuisine, no doubt inspired by your early travels and inherited from Sybil.
When someone is in their final weeks and then days, it is incredibly stressful for those around them. It‚Äôs strange, even though you are aware for quite some time that they are leaving, when it finally happens, it can still come as a shock. It is so final with no going back. You can only go forwards from now on. Your world has changed; the world has changed.
Right now, you must be exhausted, running on empty and autopilot. And you will be for a while. They say, the reality only really sinks in after about three months. You must be kind to yourselves; give yourselves time. Time is a great healer. And above all, stay in regular contact with each other and support each other, especially those who live on their own. That will be Sybil‚Äôs greatest wish, that you stay together as a loving family; it certainly was for my mother.
I have passed the message on to those neighbours who knew her when she lived here in London. No doubt they will write directly to you.
Diana Mancini has been lighting candles and praying for her. Ron says she was the last of that generation and I agree. It is the end of an era.
Melinda, Liam, Thomas and Ava Holohan send their condolences and want you to know that Sybil‚Äôs former house, your family home, is still much loved and cherished by them.
With much love to you all,
I was greatly saddened to learn of Sybil‚Äôs passing but not surprised. She had a wonderful life despite the early loss of her greatly loved Tony. We met first when Sybil stayed with my family in the early second world war years evacuated from Manchester to Accrington. She was always a lovely girl and I think I was secretly in love with her – I was five at that time! When I came to study in London she put me up for some time in her house in Forest Hill, opposite the Horniman. I was so pleased that we kept in touch all these years. It was one of my life‚Äôs privileges to have known her.
I am sorry that I am so far away now living in Scotland that I can‚Äôt be at the funeral. I will be there in spirit though and will definitely look forward to receiving information about the video once it is ready to view.
It will be a mixture of pain and sorrow on Monday but let us give gratitude for a life well fulfilled and lived.
A further memory during the war is of your mother taking me to the afternoon matinee at the ‚Äúpictures!‚ÄĚ I was so frightened by the MGM lion roaring during the opening sequence I had to be brought home. If you remember, MGM had a lion appearing out of, I think, a golden ring of palm leaves.
Your mum was just lovely.
Bless you all
Soufflons sur la flamme pour que l’√Ęme de Sybil s’envole aux cieux !
Je suis de tout coeur avec vous, ch√®re Chantal, cher Tom.
Que c’est douloureux de perdre sa Maman ! Elle √©tait si douce, si gentille, si g√©n√©reuse, si altruiste.
Vous allez voir, elle continuera de vous envoyer plein de signes d’attention et d’amour. Votre conversation intime fonctionnera plus que jamais.
Un coeur peut cesser de battre, mais pas d’aimer. Votre complicit√© perdurera.
C’est m√™me plus pratique d’avoir sa Maman dans son coeur √† tout instant, au plus pr√®s de soi, que d’avoir √† parcourir des kilom√®tres pour l’entrevoir dans un fragment de temps.
Vous avez le droit de pleurer, votre Maman descendra vous consoler.
Vous avez le droit de rire aux tendres souvenirs que vous avez tiss√©s tout au long de votre vie.
Quand elle vous manque, fermez les yeux, croisez vos avant-bras et posez vos mains sur vos √©paules : lovez-vous dans ses bras aimants et elle vous enlacera, et elle vous embrassera.
La mort n’est qu’une √©tape, un nouveau d√©part pour une vie plus profonde, plus sereine.
La famille d’Azim Wahidi se joint √† moi pour pr√©senter nos affectueuses condol√©ances √† toute votre famille.
“La vie est un d√©part
Et la mort un retour”
– Lao Tseu –
Thank you Simone for your inspiring and optimistic words. They are so insiteful I think they are worthy of this crude translation:
Let‚Äôs blow on the flame so that Sybil‚Äôs soul soars to the heavens!
I am wholeheartedly with you, dear Chantal, dear Tom.
How painful it is to lose your Mum! She was so gentle, so kind, so generous, so selfless.
You will see, she will continue to send you lots of signs of attention and love. Your intimate conversation will work better than ever.
A heart can stop beating, but not loving. Your complicity will continue.
It is even more practical to have your Mother in your heart at all times, as close as possible to you, than to have to travel kilometers to glimpse her in a fragment of time.
You have the right to cry, your Mum will come down to console you.
You have the right to laugh at the fond memories that you have woven throughout your life.
When you miss her, close your eyes, cross your forearms and put your hands on your shoulders: curl up in her loving arms and she will hug you, and she will kiss you.
Death is only a step, a new beginning for a deeper, more serene life.
The family of Azim Wahidi join me in offering our affectionate condolences to all of your family.
“Life is a start
And death a return ”
– Lao Tzu –
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