Edna Maud Dyer was born in Trelawny, Jamaica on Friday 26th of March 1937, the 5th of six children to Richard and Julia Dyer. She married on Saturday 8 September 1962 in Hampstead, London and became Edna Johnson, devoted wife and mother to four children; Audrey, Peter, myself and Errol. Mum worked as an auxiliary nurse at Northwick Park Hospital and later Harrow Cottage Hospital where she selflessly cared for many. She devoted her life to Christ and was a regular attendee of the Church of God of Prophecy in Wembley. On Sunday 29 January 2023 she took her last breath safe in the knowledge that her work here on earth was done. She will be sorely missed by many but her legacy and the memories she gave us will last forever.
Mum used to cuss me for walking the street too late, or for the hair under my chin, or leaving the bathroom light on, or for not eating enough, or eating too much; and there was no point arguing, unless you wanted the look, you all know the look, she was the Queen of the cut-eye and could speak volumes without parting her lips. And I'm not talking about me as a child, but a full blown adult. To Mum we were always her "kids", and she would never stop keeping us in check; fishcakes and dumplings would appear from nowhere on visits, cornmeal porridge if I stayed over, and how one person could make so much soup in such a small kitchen will always be a mystery. She fussed over and worried about us all, I guess like any mother does; through epilepsy in childhood to a double hip replacement in adulthood, she was always there, doing what was so natural to her, and because of her love (and her food) I knew it would all be okay. That's just one of the things I'll miss about her the most.
Mum was one of the funniest people I've ever known, she'd often have us in stitches without even trying. Like when she called out for any of us, she'd go through all our names before arriving at the correct one.. "Errol", "Peter", "Audrey", "DC" (that's the cat!). Or the time I was visiting her in her beloved home in Alperton, she had to pop to the chemist and mindful that I might arrive before she returned she left a note on the front door.. "won't be long, key under the car". And she was mischievous, often jumping on the 83 to Ealing (sometimes with her partner-in-crime Ruth) where she would go to the M&S where Steve works and hide behind the fixtures so she could surprise him with her visit. She was no fool though, she knew she would be treated to a nice plate of fish and chips in the M&S restaurant, at staff prices of course. Failing that she would indulge in one of her un-guilty pleasures, a fillet of fish meal with apple pie at the McDonalds across the road.
My mother could chat.. I would often get annoyed trying to get through on the house phone, once you get the engaged tone you know that phone's tied up for at least an hour.. seriously, who talks for so long on the phone these days? But I tried calling aunty the other day and you guessed it.. engaged for 45 minutes, clearly a family trait. Mum was always on the phone to her sisters, they were that close, and if it wasn't her biological sisters blocking the line it was her church sisters. She made friends with absolutely everyone, it could be a stranger at the bus stop, or in the supermarket, people just warmed to her infectious personality and her warmth. When I introduced friends to her she would, for the first time anyway, switch into speaky-spokey mode, it always tickled me. What I grew to learn is that there are different levels of speaky-spokey, figures of authority being treated to my mother's unintentional impersonation of Mrs Bouquet.
Mum had a special relationship with the television; I loved how she would shout at Dirty Den over his dodgy antics, or offer Columbo a word or two bout ironing his crumpled raincoat. She would laugh herself to tears watching the Generation Game contestants as they failed miserably trying to complete their tasks, and literally wet herself watching man falling into swimming pool on You've Been Framed. But she wasn't glued to the screen, in fact she was very active and loved an outing; some of our days out would find us in such "glamorous" destinations as Southend.. Great Yarmouth.. Brighton. Mum would later arrange many a coach trip for the church club, she loved being around people and visiting new places, a real spirit for adventure.
No one can deny Mum's faith, and I've seen it put to the test; when my brother died it was the church she turned to for solace, the bible she turned to for guidance and it was her unfailing belief in the scripture that gave her the courage to carry on. And whilst I often struggled to understand my mum's commitment, one thing I know for sure is that she never faced adversity alone. I witnessed the unconditional love and nourishment the church gave her, for this I will always be grateful. You were/are her extended family and she loved you all like you were her own.
But now Mrs Johnson your time with us has come to an end; you've seen 4 children, 4 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren, 2 great great grandchildren (and 2 cats) enter this world, and cared for countless more through your years as a nurse. You've exceeded your duties as a wife, sister, aunty and cousin; and through your example as a mother you've guided us in the right direction. You've baked and decorated enough cake to feed the entire congregation of this and several other churches. You've made us laugh, made us cry, you've faced some trying situations and now you're tired, I get it. So this is your final outing, don't forget your scarf, you're off to join grandma and grandpa, your siblings Lucille, Mary and Joseph, your son Peter, and the many friends who left before you, they've all been waiting to say hello again.
I love you Mum, but as hard as it is to let go I know I'll see you again.
So until that day.
Mum's funeral took place on
Wednesday 15 February 2023.
Church of God of Prophecy Wembley, London
Willesden New Cemetery, London