By our resident, John Desmond Miller
This was a gathering of friends and relatives of deceased residents to remember and share personal experiences. As it was a warm sunny day, we gathered in the garden at three o’clock. There we found a table beautifully laid out with plates of fruit and delicious homemade cakes. Drinks were served. During the event, there was background keyboard music and songs by Wendy and Bethan who has a trained voice of exceptional quality.
Some of the guests had been invited to recall and share with the group, stories and memories of their loved ones. They had been well chosen – they all spoke well and movingly of their loved ones. Without exception, all expressed their appreciation of the care their friends and relatives had received at Antokol where the atmosphere is that of a loving caring family.
As for me, I came as a friend of the late Canon John McNamara whom I had visited on several occasions together with Hilary Marvel. I was impressed by the loving care given to Canon John and felt that should I ever need care this is where I would like to be. The need arose at the beginning of this year and I became a resident in February for which I am very grateful.
I found this memorial gathering exceeded all expectations. The talks were all appropriate and moving. They reflected the fine care this Home offers, giving due praise and thanks to the management and all the staff - carers, cleaners, cooks and dining room assistants. I felt the exercise was cathartic for the speakers and reassuring to all who run Antokol.
I have an interest in the Jewish roots of the Mass. As I reflect on our memorial meal, I feel it was rather like a todah offering, that is, a sacrificial meal shared with friends to celebrate one’s gratitude to God for deliverance from some past threat. The word todah means ‘thanksgiving’ and was sometimes translated by Jewish writers as eucharistia. The presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the Chapel, sets the tone and is at the heart of all that happens here.
By Ewa Kwasniewski
When I was invited by Izabella, Antokol’s Manager, to remember family members who passed away during the Covid pandemic, I knew that I had to be there! My father was one of those residents. All occasions at Antokol are celebrated in a sensitive, tactful and caring manner. They are also simply beautiful. This time was no different… but even better!
The gathering under the marquee in the sunny garden was a feast for the eyes. We drank tea from elegant bone china cups, ate cakes (works of art!), baked by the very skilful and accomplished kitchen chef and her staff, and enjoyed exquisite cocktails. But most of all we listened to family members reminisce about their loved ones, sharing their lives with everyone present. It was very moving. The soloist and pianist added a poignancy and elegance to this exceptional afternoon. We were also invited to the summer house ‘cinema’ where we watched photographs of dear, departed residents, made into a film with lovely background music. All these beautiful faces, looking at us from the screen! What stories they could tell, what lives they had... and, oh! how we missed them all. There was not a dry eye amongst us.
I thought about my father. He spent over a year at Antokol after suffering a stroke. He was so tenderly looked after - I could never have provided him with this type of professional care! He was peaceful and happy here. Thank you Antokol for this sweet, nostalgic afternoon. I will never forget it. You are truly a very special Home.