Sadly, my mom’s mom, my Gran, passed away recently. I was asked to say something at the memorial and in an effort to preserve it online, this is what I said.
Iona Ray Bothma (1930 – 2013) – Memorial 19 April 2013
Thank you for all coming today. We’re gathered here in remembrance and to pay our respect to Iona Ray Bothma, who some of you would have known as Iona, others as Mom, and to me and my brother and sister, Granny Sedgefield.
Gran was born in Hanover in the Karoo, though most of her schooling years took place in George where she spent the majority of her childhood. Then it was off to Cape Town where she would eventually meet and fall in love with my grandfather Stefanus, and from there it was life in the Northern Suburbs for them, where they were eventually blessed with two wonderful children, Stephen and Cheryl. Finally it was off on retirement to Sedgefield, which is the part of their lives which we grandchildren associate with the most, hence the moniker of Granny and Grandpa Sedgefield, which to this day remains the way Ryan, Claire and I refer to them.
We spent pretty much every holiday and long weekend travelling up to Sedgefield to visit with our grandparents and it was there that we were spoiled and loved, and truly experienced Granny’s remarkable kindness and empathy, her genuine interest in and love for all her family.
She was a home-maker good and proper, with a huge love for her sewing and knitting, for her gardening, and of course her two little furry doggy companions, Piaf and Chloe. Together she and grandpa were without a doubt the highlight of our lives as children when away from home, always ready with a surprise present, or a delicious snack, or just that much needed hug and cuddle.
Eventually old age caught up with them and they moved back down to Cape Town, and joined the “family” here at Eden Park, where funnily enough, my father’s parents had also moved in. Sadly though, my grandfather took ill and passed away (almost ten years ago now) which was of course a terrible blow to my grandmother, but who instead of just giving up, silently soldiered on, long enough for both my sister Claire and her husband, and myself and my wife to present to her her great grandchildren, Devon and Jessica.
One of the first (and most striking) things that comes up whenever you talk to friends or acquaintances about Gran is the incredible level of thoughtfulness she had when dealing with people, that incredible patience and kindness she showed to everyone, a quality which without a doubt defined her very being.
And it truly is sad to lose a person like that.
The only solace we as family can take from her passing is that she did touch a lot of people with her kindness over the years, and more importantly, is now finally at rest, reunited with her beloved Stefanus and Stephen in heaven.
We will miss you terribly Gran, but we can rest assured that you are smiling down upon us and for that, we are grateful.
Rest in peace Granny Sedge.