Today I honor the passing of my nan-in-law at the ripe age of 99. The life of Ann Veronica Ryan was celebrated this week, with Rosemary and a Red Hat as she was buried at Warrandyte with her husband Frank, of whom she was married to for 63 years.
Such big numbers. Such a long life well lived.
Her daughter Margaret was resplendent in red hat. Ann had always said to her, don’t come wearing miserable black to my funeral. Wear a splash of color. So Margaret embraced her wishes and wore a red hat. Splendid send-off. I thought of all the marvellous Red Hatted Women who belong to the Red Hat Society. . Marvellous women who chose life and joy over sadness.
The Red Hat Society began after Sue Ellen Cooper read the poem Warning – When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple, By Jenny Joseph.
And of Rosemary… it was placed on Ann’s coffin, and thrown into her grave. Rosemary is well-known for Remembrance.
“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember; and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.” ( Shakespeare’s Hamlet). On Anzac Day people wear it in their lapels. I use it ritually in a selection of herbs to assist with grieving.
The place of ritual observance is ever-present at events such as funerals. Later the remembering of these events seems to help us with the process of letting go of people we love. So visuals and actions such as the rosemary and the red hat, help us remember these times.
As for Rosemary, no good garden is complete without it…and of hats, I might be off to purchase a lavender one soon, so I can be part of the Red Hat Society (under 50’s wear lavender or pink hats).