Lorraine Annetta Schutters was born to Susanna and Joseph Simrie on the third of March 1950. She was the third of six children, and is survived by her eldest sister Freda. The daughter of a bricklayer and a housewife.
She grew up in a modest home in Elsies River and attended the local primary and high schools where she fostered long lasting friendships with three special women (Charlotte, Elsa and Veronica) who my sisters and I regard as family.
Mom showed a flair for the academic winning numerous book scholarships which lightened the load her ambitions placed on her parents.
Leadership qualities manifested in her taking up the role of head girl at Elsies River High School, a role which she fulfilled with the grace and dignity that earned her many admirers among her peers. The love that has flowed out of those people whose lives she touched so many years ago is a testament to the person she was and we as a family are thankful for your kindness and support.
It was through friendship circles that she would come to meet the man who would later become her husband, Melvin.
I would like to believe that, despite what has happened since, the romance that blossomed between my mother and and father is evident in the way they raised my sisters and I.
That romance took her north to Pretoria, where she continued to spread her vibrant energy and form deep friendships with many people who have sent heartfelt condolences. Many couldn’t make it, but have made their deep sorrow known, this is too greatly appreciated.
My mother’s outspoken nature won her many friends, but there were also many critics among her relatives and in-laws. But your presence here today is an indication of the poise mom carried herself with.
Three children and a separation later and she was back home, in Cape Town, ready to start rebuilding a life from scratch.
The task she put ahead of all else was to raise her brood to be independent, free thinking people and walk with them in the path of the lord.
I remember most the walking. The three and a bit kilometers from Highbury to this church was our weekly pilgrimage. I didn’t understand then, and rebelled against it, but seeing how this community has rallied around my family during our time of need gives me a small idea of why.
Church was more than just a Sunday service. And while she didn’t believe in joining committees or fellowships, she was very interested in making friends and forging relationships. St George’s became a big part of her network of extended family.
Her children were confirmed here, I was married here and her granddaughter was baptised here. This church is as much a part of her she is of it, and my family understands the depth of the grief.
When I think of my mother’s qualities, her strength, resilience and tenacity come to mind.
She was the corner stone of my family. Our rock and our stone wall.
My mother weathered many storms, shielding us from the full force of life’s unpleasantness. She forever put herself second to the needs of her children, and it’s a shame that she was called to rest when she could finally see to herself.
My mother was a charitable woman who was selfless in her giving. I remember many times when I was forced to run after beggars who I’d just turned away because she made sandwiches.
But above all, mummy was tenacious. She’d never leave an argument, or let a lesson go unlearnt.
It took an equal amount of tenacity and resilience to love her.
The hardest lesson my mother taught was to take responsibility. If it’s your burden to bare, you carry it to the best of your ability. You taught by example mom, and I understand it now.
She lived with grace, humility and with unshakable resolve. I’ll miss crossing swords with her sharp mind and razor tongue. I’ll miss laying my head on her hip in the afternoon after a heavy night before. I’ll miss her smile and infectious laugh. And I’ll miss the love she had for everyone that entered her life. She cared deeply, lived fully and spoke loudly.
Yes, we lost a great mother, sister, friend and woman, but she was never ours to have. She was always on loan from a higher power.
To sum up my mother I’d like to paraphrase a Billy Joel classic:
She can kill with a smile and wound with her eyes/She ruined my faith with her casual lies/She only revealed what she wanted us to see/She asked for the truth, but she’d never believe/But she’s always a woman to me.
She was frequently kind, and suddenly cruel/She did as she pleased, she was nobody’s fool/She can’t be convicted, she earned her degree/She brought out the best and the worst I could be/But I blame it all on myself ‘cause she’s always a woman to me.
I will love you and miss you for all of my days. Goodbye mom.