Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A wintry farewell

Forty eight hours pass. We are unable to extract any news from the insurers. However, we have seen the Golf we propose to buy, a bright blue green colour 1995 'Match' in excellent condition. An affordable bargain, but we still have to wait.

After the Eucharist, two hundred people in church - not for anything Christmassy, but for the funeral of the young mother of two who booked me for the occasion just a couple of weeks ago.

Her husband had composed a beautiful moving poetic tribute to their life together, and this was read by his best friend. The children and close family members placed flowers on her coffin and the children offered some drawings which were blu-tacked to the sides.

As we parted from the church at the end we sang '

"You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace,
and the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you,
there'll be shoults of joy, and the trees of the field shall clap shall clap their hands."

This was approved at my final meeting with the couple. Philip drove it along nicely on the organ. The first verse was a bit of a struggle, but it picked up in the second. I'd reached to door by the time we finished, turned and started a round of applause, quickly taken up by the congregation, although it was not perhaps what they had expected in their moment of sadness, until they realised that they could make it as their own tribute to a remarkable woman who's shown such honest and courage in the face of her own death.

The traffic was congested and slow driving to the crematorium in heavy sleet, but enough time had been left to ensure we were punctual, and for once we needed that extra because of the poor conditions. After the brief committal, there was a long slow departure. The children cried and dad comforted them, and the entire congregation attempted to comfort them all as they went past, a community of family and friends embracing them with sympathy and compassion. People at their best.

There was a reception afterwards at the Llandaff Rowing Club clubhouse, overlooking the weir above the Cathedral. It was the first time I'd been there. Views from there are excellent. As everyone relaxed, the children began to discharge some energy, running around, and then settled back into play, encouraged by some thoughtful adult family and friends. Drinks were purchased, and people began to unwind, catch up with each other and share their recollections. Then it was time for me to head off home by bus, and start setting my mind towards finishing the necessary preparations for Christmas celebrations tomorrow.

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