I arrive rather early at the church, worried about finding a parking space. I fear that I am turning into Mr B.
a seat about two thirds of the way back and leave lots of room in the hope that somebody will join me. Thankfully, the vacant spaces beside me are soon filled by Sharon and Marilyn and Fran. I am very pleased indeed to see them.
We are here, in St Catherine’s Church, for the funeral of our dear friend Steph. Across the packed church I can see lots of her former colleagues, people she and I both
worked with not so very long ago. I’m glad we are all here. When the service starts, the priest tells us that a funeral is a way of showing how love continues. The crowded pews bear testimony to that. Steph was only 57, far too young
to die. I feel achingly sad for her husband and for her son, who is quite a bit younger than my children. Too young to lose your mum. I look at the photographs in the Order of Service. Steph as a baby. Steph as a bride. Steph as a new mum. Steph
celebrating her Silver Wedding. A life full of love. I think that there are many who live much longer but do not generate half the love that Steph did. It’s a comforting thought.
Every year at Christmas, for several years now, Steph organised a Nativity Exhibition, bringing together an amazing variety of depictions of the age-old story. These ranged from beautifully carved figures from across the world
to knitted nativities like those I have carefully crafted for my grandchildren - even (one of Steph’s favourites) a tiny nativity in a walnut shell. Nobody should under-estimate the tremendous amount of work which went into this annual expression
of faith. It was a labour of love, if ever there was one.
A cousin I have never met has sent me the Order of Service for her mother’s funeral. It includes
lots of details I never knew about my Auntie Vera who died a couple of weeks ago, aged 95. A long life, well lived. The photograph on the front of the Order of Service looks as if it probably dates back to the years when she and my Mum were young wives,
sticking together through thick and thin while their husbands were serving in the War. All I know for certain is that my Mum loved her – so I have asked my new-found cousin if we can stay in touch. Our respective mothers would be so very
pleased if we did.
Back in Wales, Young Morgan has celebrated his second birthday today with a visit to a Soft Play Centre and yet another birthday cake. How many
candles? I asked him when we spoke via Facetime a short time ago. “Six!” he asserted. Not quite so far away, my Son in Law is also celebrating his birthday. I am not sure how many candles he had on his cake but it probably didn’t represent
his age any more accurately than Morgan did. Via email, I learn of the safe arrival of twin boys, two new, precious grandchildren for good friends of ours. All in all, it has been an emotional day.
Life goes on. Births and deaths, birthday celebrations, making connections, staying in touch, remembering what matters.