Barbara’s sudden death from a heart attack on 26th October left her many friends on Paros shocked and saddened. Her funeral was held on Monday, 13th November in Derbyshire, England and, simultaneously, there was a “Gathering of Friends” at the Meltemi Café on the Paroikia seafront where Barbie had loved to sit with a coffee looking out over the sea.
About thirty of her friends gathered together to pay tribute to her memory; following the order of service in the UK and playing the same music – in particular her favourite song by Mary Black “Only a Woman’s Heart”. Jean Polyzoides read a poem by Barbie’s youngest daughter, Katy, about her mother and the love she had for her girls (Katy and Emily) and for everyone. Paul read her brother David’s very moving tribute and also shared his thoughts and memories. Her friends threw rose petals into the sea and sent her all their love and thanks for being their friend. She was vivacious, fun-loving, and a great companion, and Paros is going to miss her.
Mary Godfrey attended Barbara’s funeral in the UK and read her own eulogy as well as “A Letter from Paros” from Jean and Apostolos Polyzoides.
Barbie and I became very close from the moment she arrived on Paros, and in her own practical but sensitive way she helped me start living again after the death of my husband.
Over the years we laughed, cried, drank, ate and supported each other through thick and thin.
I’m sure everyone here has their own personal experiences of our beautiful Barbie, who lived life to the full and lit up a room when she walked in with that great smile of hers. She had a special gift with people, always chatting to someone and showing interest in their lives.
I must tell you all how privileged and extremely lucky I feel for having Barbie be a very big part of my life and no words can really express how much she will be missed.
And when I weep for the loss of my wonderful friend, I can even now hear her say “Stop being a silly bugger, you’ve had a good cry, now just get on with it!”
I love you Barbie and I will never forget you.
A LETTER FROM PAROS
Everyone I know is going to miss Barbara – Barbie from Derby – and particularly my husband and I; it is so strange to get up in the morning without hearing her singing in the kitchen or hearing one of her favourite CDs, which she liked as mournful as possible, despite her very cheery nature. We would laugh about some small event that had happened to one of us the evening before, or discuss the food we might have eaten at a restaurant.
Barbara was the most helpful and thoughtful person you could ever wish to have around you on a daily basis, she was like a sister to both of us on many occasions, and had a special talent of being able to cheer you up without seeming to make any effort.
Her other two great talents, of course, are well known – she was an imaginative and efficient chef who prepared and cooked the most delicious food for our dinner parties. She would always want to prepare something special for lunch, just to try... soups were her masterpiece and I am sure no-one anywhere in the world, even in a 5-star restaurant, will ever be able to match her broccoli soup – it was perfection!
She came to us in incredibly bad weather in March three years ago, and did not fall in love instantly with Paros, but it grew on her slowly and after a few months, she fell under the island’s spell.
Some time ago we talked of her future and where she would want to live for the rest of her life, and she decided on Paros. We had such plans of opening a cookery school here and had even decided on some of the courses and the name for the school. How sad that this is not to be.
She was a great asset to IWOP, the International Women’s Organization, and gave several cookery demonstrations to the group. Her contribution to IWOP’s annual Christmas Carol Singing evening was invaluable. Which is also where you might have learned of another of Barbie’s talents – her music – she sang beautifully and also played guitar. Music was her constant companion throughout the day and night right up until her last moments.
Barbie, wherever you are reading this, be at peace. We miss you terribly and we will never forget you.