1 week ago
Thank you to everyone for your donations in memory of Maria. We are truly overwhelmed by your generosity and it is a true testament to just how many people loved Maria.
Not only was St. Mary’s Cathedral Maria’s place of worship, but the grounds also contain a Greek school where children learn how to read and write Greek. The school was attended by some of Maria’s grandchildren, so St. Mary’s really did mean a lot to her. We know the church will do great things with your donations!
Unfortunately, due to the restrictions, a lot of you were not able to attend the funeral. However, we can tell you that the service was beautiful, and we know Maria would have loved it.
Below are three eulogies given at the funeral service. We hope these words bring you comfort as they did for us.
1. For Mum – A poem written and given by Pamela Zacharia (Second Eldest Daughter)
“Mum, you’re an angel now, like you were in life.
You will watch over us every day, all the time.
You were the kind of woman whose heart was open to all.
No one could match the love and beauty that came from your soul.
My sisters and I will carry on your legacy.
Of being kind to one another and taking care of each other closely.
I always wanted to be like you mum, so brave and so strong.
When you held me in your arms, I knew where I belonged.
I am lucky to feel you all the time, I know you’re right beside me.
We will always love you mum, now rest and sleep in peace.”
2. A eulogy written and given by Maria-Sophia Christodoulou (Second Eldest Grandchild)
“You know when someone has made a life changing impact on you when you can hear them even when they’re not there. The most vivid thing I can hear Yiayia saying because she would have to repeat over three times for Pappou is, ‘Andricho! Theleis kafe?’
Of course, Pappou wanted a coffee. Yiayia would make you a tea or a coffee even if you already had one in front of you. You never felt empty when Yiayia was around. Your heart, your mind, your soul...your stomach. Sometimes your stomach was too full. There were many days I would leave after a Yiayia dinner with my stomach so bloated I couldn’t get my seatbelt on properly in the car! But I would eat every morsel of food with a smile even if I was going to explode, just to see Yiayia smile. I think that was when she was most proud of us all, when we finished our plates.
Yiayia loved everyone. She loved her husband, all her daughters, all her grandchildren, her brothers and sister, anyone who walked through her door. Yes, she muddled up our names a lot, but she loved us all the same. Even when we would speak to Yiayia over the phone, and our caller ID’s would appear, she would still ask who was calling and say that we all sounded very similar!
Princess Diana once said, ‘Family is the most important thing in the world.’ I quote Princess Diana for many reasons, one being that Yiayia was overly obsessed with the royal family and liked to update me regularly on their lives and progress (all her facts came from YouTube by the way). But also, because Yiayia saw everyone as family. Yiayia truly embodied and showed us all what love is. She wanted the best for any life she touched. And most importantly, she wanted all of us to be together and to be happy.”
For Yiayia – A poem written and given by Maria-Sophia Christodoulou (Second Eldest Grandchild)
“Before this absence world,
we dreamed in your voice,
pearls falling from your words,
teaching us sweetened songs
of grace. A euphonic shimmer
followed your presence,
our own private moonlight.
You glowed in water like
a martyr, an auric softness
in your faith. We promised
harmony, searched for fresh
roses opening in daylight like
your thumb on our cheeks.
The sun held your light for us—
a delicate worship, knowing
you could see us, hold us
without needing your presence.
We were honoured to find
a place in your soul,
neatly curled, open door, whilst
you prayed away small storms
before they entered. This
was the world we wanted
to live in forever.”
3. A eulogy written and given by Andrew Allinson-Bulman (Eldest Grandchild)
“I knew ahead of time what my auntie and cousin were going to say, so I wanted to keep this brief, as they really did sum up γιαγιά perfectly, but my mind was full of wonderful memories and I ended up writing a lot more than I set out to.
I want to start off by saying this. Γιαγιά was the most perfect human being I’ve ever known and will likely ever know. And, I know most people would say this about their grandmother, but she really was, and will always be, one of a kind. When I think about my grandmother, my γιαγιά, the age-old philosophical debate comes to mind, “is there such thing as a truly altruistic act of kindness?”, and the reason is because I would ordinarily say, “no”, but γιαγιά was the exception. In fact, I can honestly say that my γιαγιά is the only person I have ever known who lived her life entirely selflessly.
I think we’d all agree that γιαγιά was a modest woman. There was never any pretence, no arrogance, just a genuine and pure soul. But most of all, she was exceptionally bright. You’re all thinking, “yes, of course she was, we all knew that!”, but like I said before, she was selfless, she was humble, she didn’t talk about herself much, ever really, but then you would catch these moments of how brilliantly sharp she was.
I remember on many occasions being at her house, maybe my sister was there, or my cousins, or sometimes my friends, and we’d all be laughing and cracking jokes about something I thought was abstract, or nuanced, or something I thought you’d only get if you were culturally fine-tuned by growing up in the UK. But then, I’d turn to γιαγιά and I’d notice that, not only is she keeping up with us, but she was reacting before other people were. She always got the joke. Remember, this is a lady who didn’t grow up in the UK, nor was English her first language, and yet she always got it, no matter what we were discussing.
Speaking of how intelligent γιαγιά was, I have a memory I’d like to share, about an evening I will never forget. I recently lived with γιαγιά for a year, and one evening, well morning really, I came home a bit tipsy at around one in the morning, and she was in the kitchen, so we ended up chatting for a couple of hours. She wanted to understand more about what I do. So, I began explaining it to her, and the penny dropped immediately. She suddenly started picking up fruit from the fruit bowl, you know, the one which is always on the dining table and is always full, and she started dropping fruit onto the ground. “You mean like this?” as she picked up a tangerine and dropped it again. “Yeah, exactly, that’s gravity”. She replied “Ναί, gravity, ξέρω, ξέρω!”. She actually started describing to me some of the fundamentals for classical mechanics, without even knowing it. But the thing which really stuck with me, was when she said this, “you know, I always wanted to study this, ever since I was a little girl, I liked this a lot, really a lot.”
That night, I remember thinking “Wow, the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree!”, but I realise now, that this sentiment applies to all of us. I see γιαγιάς selflessness in my mother, who always puts her family before anything else, approaching life only ever with others in mind, a true altruist, just like my γιαγιά; I see γιαγιάς strength, her kindness, and her candidness, in my sister, Lilian; I see γιαγιάς intelligence and sharp mind in my cousins Maria, Athena and Olivia; and I see γιαγιά in all my family. Everyone here, our family, has their piece of γιαγιά, which defines who they are today. Thank you.”