Many people find their own unique ways to keep their love ones’ memories alive, whether it’s scattering their ashes somewhere meaningful, or keeping some of their belongings and photos round the house to feel close to them.
But for Cilla Black’s son, the best way to honour her memory has been to continue using the holiday villa she loved so much – as well as sleeping in the very room she died in, the Mirror Online reports.
The Blind Date host tragically passed away in 2015 at the age of 72 after suffering a stroke caused by a fall. She was staying at her stunning villa in Spain at the time, somewhere the whole family have enjoyed happy times over the years.
It was her son, Robert Willis, who found her body on her bedroom balcony at the time.
While many families would struggle to return to the place where their loved one passed away, Robert, 48, has found comfort in using the “joyful place” still, as it’s filled with memories of both his mother and her late husband Bobby.
Robert explained that Cilla had considered selling the villa after her husband’s death, but couldn’t due to the love she had for the place. Now, he and his brothers Ben, 44, and Jack, 38, feel the same.
“Because she died there it is even more special, I suppose. I’ll never get rid of it or rent it out,” he told the publication. “I use her room now. I still refer to it as Mum’s room but she wouldn’t have wanted it to be a room we couldn’t go into, a shrine.
“The house is a joyful place and still is, despite what happened. That’s what she would have wanted. I have great memories, from playing in the pool as a kid to seeing my own kids playing in the pool there.”
While they have continued to visit and stay at the holiday villa, the family made the heartbreaking decision to sell the family home in Buckinghamshire, UK, following their mother’s death.
Robert revealed to the news outlet he came across unreleased recordings and footage of her performing while clearing through her belongings – some of which were recorded by her late husband Bobby. Robert spent hours listening back to them in their former home at the time.
Read more: The star-studded send off for Cilla Black
Now, he admitted he draws comfort from fans who continue to pay tribute to the singer and TV star, as well as visiting her grave on a regular basis.
Countless TV stars and musicians turned out for Cilla’s funeral in 2015, with her close friend Sir Cliff Richard leading the tributes. He said in his eulogy that Cilla was “the greatest TV presenter of all time”.
“I’m not sure what to say because I can’t think of Cilla in a past tense,” he added. “Being driven here was a fantastic experience, you forget how much people loved her”.
He then sang his famous tune, ‘Faithful One’ as he weeped.
“Her pure enthusiasm, self belief and wonderful sense of humour made being with her a joy and a pleasure,” he went on. “She celebrated life in the living of it. Her God-given talent and determination made her a trailblazer in her field of music and television. She set the bar high and it’s still there.”
Meanwhile Robert read a poem by Henry Scott Holland, Death is Nothing At All – the same he had read at his father’s funeral.
“They are together again,” he said. “Today she has returned home, she was indeed a daughter of Liverpool and now the circle is complete”.