Anna’s Eulogy as she lies on her death bed
I first want to extend all of my gratitude to all the relatives, friends and attendees who have come today to this page to honour this great woman, Anna Maria Clayden, a person we have all come to love and cherish for many years. The amount of people who have shown up to pay their respects is only a testimony to the lives she personally touched.
Many of us have known her in a variety of roles: student, sister, party demon, friend, mentee and rapper. I have been privileged to know her as myself, Anna, or when she was a child, she was better known as ‘Anna Banana’. It is within this context I shall speak from and share of the greatness of this woman.
Upon reflecting, what I would say about the uniqueness of myself I have chosen, as best as I know how, to stay away from trite expressions. Instead, my desire is for you to see through the eyes of a child who has learned and still learning to love, appreciate and honour her as I have grown older in my years.
But before I embark on this journey, I want to ask you a question: when you hear the name Anna Maria Clayden, what words immediately spring to mind? If you’re like me, there is no single word to choose from. Let me share a few adjectives that come to mind: caring, strong, humorous, encourager, woman not of faith, thankful, unique, playful, idea demon, brainbox. I’m sure there were some words you recognized and shared with me, but hopefully, there was at least one word that surprised you.
Anna shared good humour and a big smile with everyone she met. Even though people often cursed her humming, she was an integral part of SCA. She held her head high until the end, showing what it looks like to finish strong.
When the flu caught up with her, she realised her body just couldn’t take it any longer. The 4am working nights, the book inspections, the single-minded propositions had all taken their toll, and had deteriorated her health. As she lay on her death bed, whilst casting her eye over the clinical white walls realising she would lose points for not writing a scab, she was a corpse. Eventually, the flu saw her for what she was: destroyed.
Growing up, I knew that I could always ask her for help – and she would be willing to drop anything to lend a hand. She was a rock of stability in my childhood. This remained the case, right up until the day that she discovered alcohol.
She was a woman who infused fun into the most mundane of tasks. I remember how she would play noughts and crosses with baked beans, only last week. I remember when she cut her own fringe, just because she could. I remember how she created a hairdo out of leeks. I remember how she sellotaped her face for fun. I remember when she gate-crashed a wake because she thought the neighbours were having a party.
Since she loved to shop, Anna would often take us to the mall when we were visiting for the weekend. We would have fashion shows in the dressing rooms and often come home with bright, frilly dresses that were perfect for twirling.
However, she certainly was not little miss perfect. She rarely read the terms and conditions before ticking the agree box, and she’d say she didn’t eat meat just because she felt morally superior pretending to be vegan, but she did.
Always a lover of rapping, her latest one, ‘icks’, will be a hit single following the funeral.
While it’s tragic to think about Anna leaving us too soon, she left behind a lifetime of memories that we can celebrate. She was always ready for a fun day with friends –would have been the one showing up today with the perfect playlist for the event. If perfect consisted of jazz and some Chopin waltz’s and Mozart Prelude and Fugues that would always get the dance floor in the mood to cut some shapes.
Her wisdom will forever guide the decisions I make through the rest of my life.
I will miss you, Anna, and I’ll always hold onto the amazing memories we shared together. Rest in peace.