Wednesday, 20 July 2011

And thanks go to.....

... EVERYONE.... Everyone that is that sent things to Joel while he was in hospital, visited him, rang or texted me to see how he was, and how I was. 

To everyone that attended the funeral... a big HUGE thank you to all of you for that, it was truly overwhelming to see so many people and also really a pleasure to have Joel's name connected with laughter as well as tears on the day.  I'm glad and very touched that he meant so much to all of you!

Coming to MY funeral.... oooooh Matron!

And then all the Sympathy cards.... Thanks go to:

Nikkii and Michael Burton
Karen Yaughan
Theresa Patterson
Demaris Elrond-Swint
Desi Reilly
Dawn and Vance Raskiewicz
Gateshead Health Service
Steven Chapman
Paul and Deborah
Gloria and Tom Gibbs (and Angela and Andy McDowell)
Roger and Val
Joan and Jim
Gill, Matt and Cian Slane
Kevin, Angela and the boys
Ivor, Mary and family
Elsie and Brian Story
Paul and Verna
Bill Quay Methodist Church
Vanya and Steve
Pauline and Alan Davey
Audrey and Gary
Norman, Kerry and Family Evans
Brian, Maureen, John, Michael and Adele Evans
Linda, Tasmin and Zarin
Rachel Gulliver (aka Rachy * Gee)
Peter, Anne and family
Angela (Matt Bishop's Mam)
Julie Heppel (Joel's counsellor)
Chi Chip Tang
Christine Dobson
Helen Pringle and Mark Turnbull
Mustang Beam-Fyant

SPECIAL thanks go to Helen and Mark for the 'Name a Star' there is now a star out there called Joel Thomas Milburn!, To Mustang for the bracelet and continued letters of encouragement both to Joel and myself, and to the following for support in person and online:

Mam, Dad and Sophie -

Don't know where I would have been this last month or so without you all.... love you to bits! *MWAH*

Bryan Woodley -

Little brother, dunno what I can say.  Words cannot express how much I appreciate your support.  Love ya!

Norman, Carl, Kris and Melissa -

What can I say... you're always, have always and will always be there for me.

Gillybean -

Sis, you are a sweetheart, and glad I have someone to really talk to about some 'things' ;o) you know what I mean!

Graham -

Thanks for being there for me buddy!!

Darrell -

Thanks for the long chats on Facebook!

Dionne -

Where would I be without my emergency music finder at 1am LOL... love ya rock Sis.... ROCK ON!!!  (oh and thanks for calling me a hero, just ordering the gold pants, bullet reflecting wristbands and tiara now!!)

Jenny -

Thanks for being so close, literally and emotionally, so I can just 'pop over' if I need a hug!! Love to you and the kids xx

Helen and Mark -

For the star thing and for your continued support. xx

Nikkii B -

Also for late night chats, texts and general support.

Rachy -

For chats, texts, and random post to cheer me up!

Last, but definitely not least, Rachel and Olly -

For love, trips planned, huge photo and everything else.  Love ya muchly!!

If I've missed anyone please PLEASE accept my apologies, thanks and gratefulness for having such


I have really found out  who my real friends are.... and I'm lucky (I know I'm EXTREMELY lucky) to have such a loving, kind, close knit circle of friends.  People who have known me for years, people that have known me comparatively short lengths of time, but nonetheless VERY special people who I'll be friends with forever!

In short, I don't think I'd be 'coping' as well (?? opinions please) if it wasn't for the brilliant circle of support I have.  I am a total mess inside, but coping because of you guys... so here's a huge round of applause for you all.... *CLAP**CLAP**CLAP**CLAP**CLAP**CLAP**CLAP**CLAP**CLAP**CLAP**CLAP*

I'd also like to share, for the benefit of those that weren't at the funeral, his eulogies .. first that by Gill Slane:

I've been asked to say a few words about Joel.  It's an honour, but one which would take forever to do well.  I'll just do my best.

Joel was, first and foremost, a friend.  He was also a bit of a quandary, because he was far more complex than he'd have most people believe.  On the outside, he was the clown - always there to bring laughter to a situation, play the goofball, joke around and stop me taking life too seriously when I was feeling down.  I know he did this for all of his friends.  He hated to think that any of us might be in pain or despair, and would stop whatever he was doing to make us view life in a brighter way again.

He was the life and soul - often the very LOUD life and sould - of any given party.  Wherever the silliest things were happening, wherever the noise was, wherever there were mischiefs going on that really SHOULDN'T be going on... there you'd find Joel, trying to look innocent.  And failing, as I'm sure many of us here will remember very well.

On the flip side of the coin, Joel was a very different person.  I saw him during some of his more fragile moments, and he wasn't all clown inside.  He was wracked by insecurities about himself, and often extremely anxious that he might have accidentally hurt or upset someone.  He couldn't bear the idea that he might be a cause of pain to his friends or family, and would worry about this for weeks, losing sleep over minor faux pas that the other person hadn't even noticed.  He could be impossibly shy and low on confidence in new social situations and would put on an outgoing, loud act to cover up his insecurity.  

Joel would be the first to admit he was no saint.  He was a very real, genuine person with strengths and weaknesses, and he loved his friends and family in a very real, very deep way.  No matter what he was doing, he'd drop everything to come to the aid of someone he cared about - and even, in some situations, someone he didn't even know.  He had the biggest heart, the loudest laugh and the most bone-crushing hugs.  I'll miss those bruises.

My most enduring memories of Joel will probably be of his opposing qualities.  The joking, loud, boisterous friend of parties and nightclubs, making everyone laugh when he let us put his hair in bunches adorned with pretty ribbons at the Mayfair.  And the friend of quieter moments like his Handfasting to Polly last September when his mask dropped and he looked close to tears as he swore to love her forever.  I'm so glad I could share that day with them, and see Joel and Polly so happy together.  It's a memory I'll always cherish.

Joel was like family to me, and I only hope he knew how loved he was.  I'm honoured that he felt I was there for him, and grateful beyond measure that he was there for me.  I miss him.

And for Gilly a picture of Joel trying - but failing - to look innocent...

But, but, but I do look sweet, even if not innocent, don't I?!

And now mine:

How does one begin to sum up the life, of someone as wonderful, kind and loving as Joel Thomas Milburn?

He was so many things - a joker, a philosopher, a teacher, a thinker, a very loving and loved, husband, son, brother, nephew, cousin and friend to so many people.  And to quote a dear friends '... he touched the lives of all he met, in a positive way...'

He taught me to be ME, to 'find' myself and not to live my life trying to please everyone, to enjoy my life again.  

Those who know Joel well will know he loved predominantly 6 things in his life:

First - His computers.  I defy anyone to think of Joel and NOT connect him with computers!  Indeed - without the aid of a computer (and another lovely friend) I possibly would never have got back in contact with Joel.  He loved his computers, built them from scratch. They were his trade, his entertainment, diversion and fun.

Second - his bikes.  I hope that if you believe in any form of Heaven or afterlife, you can think of Joel zooming around the skies on the Suzuki Hayabusa he always wanted!  Space has no speed limits so he'd be able to open her up and let the skies see what she can do!

Third - his music, he'll have his guitar strapped to his back, always ready to play his favourite songs.  This gives me opportunity to explain the choice of the first two musical pieces.  Glycerine by Bush was Joel's favourite song.  I will always hear JOEL singing that to me.  The second piece was Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits which was the song we, after much deliberation and shouts of 'I don't want owt "mushy"!!' from Joel, that we chose for our first dance at our wedding.  It said then, as now, what we mean to each other.

Forth - Cats!!  He loved cats and they loved him.  I swear he was a living breathing human 'Greebo' although slightly less beaten up!  For those that don't know, Greebo is a cat who has occasionally (and magically) assumed human form in Terry Prachett's Discworld books - some of Joel's favourites.

Fifth - Science, specifically Physics which he thought of as THE science.  He was and is a great teacher.  I never used to like science, much less UNDERSTAND it!!

Sixth - He most importantly loved his family and friends and would be honoured and touched to know that he meant so much to so many of you.  I would like to read this poem and please think of it as Joel speaking the words - 

Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I , you are you
Whatever we were to each otehr
That we are still

Call me by by old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used
Put no difference in your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow

Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of shadow in it.

Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity

What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well
Nothing is past; nothing is lost

One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again.

(Canon Henry Scott-Holland 1847-1918 Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral)
(and HUGE thanks to Dionne for sending this to me! xx)

Remember him smiling, laughing and joking with you.  Don't ever forget the GOOD times.  Smile because you loved him, don't cry at his passing.

Joel was a great big, gentle loving man, adored by all who knew him.

The final musical piece is called 'Heart Shaped Hole in the Sky' by The Endings including Sophie - the sister Joel not only name but loved dearly and was extremely proud of - on the violin.  Please listen to the words which are incredibly apt at this time. (Note from Paula 20th July 2011... CDs with this song and lots of other fantastic songs £5 available from me!)

Joel is not only leaving a heart shaped hole in the sky but a Joel shaped hole in our lives, but will always be in our hearts.

Rest in Peace my darling - you will be forever in our memories.  We love you.

This is getting a little long so I'll leave you with another photo of Joel and continue this tomorrow (since it's only 35 mins until 'tomorrow' here!!)

Joel with Sophie, the sister he adored.  Another pic of these two laughing themselves silly and no-one has a clue what about (even them I mean!!)

Until tomorrow folks (and I mean a civilised hour not in 33 mins LOL), big hugs to you all..... you are GREAT!  Love to you all xx.

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