Thursday, July 02, 2009

Farewell Peggy

About fifty people were present for Peggy's funeral office, which began with Vanessa singing 'I know that my Redeemer liveth' from Haendl's 'Messiah', in the morning sunlight, setting the tone for a moving service. I was aware that some of the people present had known her for three quarters of their long lives. Although her attendances at worship during the past three years of her final illness became rarer, I know many of her fitter contemporaries visited her regularly at home and in hospital, as I had done. She coped so graciously with illness and infirmity, and never failed to welcome visitors with delight in her eyes and a huge smile.

This ability to be present to others, no matter what her own condition was indeed an amazing grace, which sent her visitors away cheerful despite their anxieties for her. Remembering her in a brief homily, I spoke about this, as the secret of living victoriously through suffering. It seems as if this thought resonated with many of the mourners to judge by comments made to me afterwards. Fr Paul and I shared the service and took her to the crematorium for the final farewell, before we went our different ways, grateful for having known and loved someone whose faith in God uplifted ours.

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