Funeral of Esme Parsons

Thursday 12th May saw the funeral of our beloved parishioner, Esme Parsons.

In a beautiful and inspiring service before a packed congregation we celebrated the life, loves and achievements of this extraordinary woman.

Esme had given strict instructions (many of them in red ink) for how the service should be conducted and by whom.  So we were able to welcome our former Rector, David Wotton, to share the service with Linda and to make the address.

David (following further instructions from Esme)  gave a précis of a remarkable life, full of sport and service, loyalty and character. It was those attributes of loyalty and character that drew so many people to form a packed congregation at St Mary’s to celebrate her life. It was the variety of her interests that saw people coming from many  different communities: of family, church,  Women’s Institute and sport.  The only person missing from the list was her beloved friend, Jean Robertson, with whom she had shared 55 years of her life.  In that period Jean and Esme (or Penny and Pip as they were known at Dorking Golf Club) were inseparable.

Esme made an impression on all whom she met with her firm handshake and clear, direct  instructions.  I was not surprised to learn that not only had she risen to be a Senior Warrant officer in the RAF but she also seems to have been captain of every hockey, cricket or golf team in which she played.

At church she was Captain of the tombola, Manager of magazine advertising money and (as my children remember her) Chief distributor of coffee and biscuits after the service, she also served on the PCC and, of course, as Churchwarden.  Such was the loyalty and commitment to the church, being present at and contributing to every event, that it is estimated Jean and Esme raised over £50,000 for Parish funds.

In this and in so many other ways Esme’s life serves as an inspiration to us all.  A life which, if measured by its dash (as in the poem by Linda Ellis which David read at the service), would stretch half way round the world.

They don’t make them like that any more.  Esme was one of a kind and will be sorely missed.

The Dash Poem

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of his friend.

He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth…
and now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard…
are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left.
That can still be rearranged

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real,
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile…
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent your dash?

by Linda Ellis

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