Auntie Joy passed away on the 23rd January 2015. She was my great-aunt, my maternal Nan's older sister, and a central member of our family. She was famous for her love of photography, gardening and cats. She especially loved mixing up those loves so as a child I, and my cousins, would be posed around the garden as she took huge numbers of photos of us. Avoiding Auntie Joy and her camera was a family sport at any gathering and one our pet cats turned into an art form but such attempts at escape were ultimately futile...
Both my Mum's generation and my own remember playing with Auntie Joy's button box, her viewfinders and attempting to avoid her very scary "room of dolls" (a room I had to go in on the day she passed away as we gathered up important paper work... it was still creepy...).
Thanks to Auntie Joy's extremely careful "tidy hoarding" (as my Nan was quoted as calling it in the eulogy today) our family has an extremely valuable (when measured in terms of "love" anyway) historical record... from her family tree research, through her labelled and organised photo albums dealing with every important event in our lives to things she'd kept that belonged to her parents, our great-grandparents, which are truly touching.
She has kept letters dating back to the 40s (mainly to famous people of the time, she was obviously a fan of many!), diaries for every year of the last 70 and one very big hole in all our lives.
The funeral was today at the Medway Crematorium. It was full of talk of Jesus and eternal life but the only bit that really had me slightly tearful was the description of her given by the rector, which summed her up so perfectly. A shy, intelligent and caring lady with staunch royalist heart and a devotion to cats and flowers. We'll always remember her.