Monday 19 November
It was the funeral of one of our Parishioner’s today. The sister and sister-in-law of friends from the Church Choir I sing with and my goodness it was hard not to break down. Patricia had celebrated her 60th birthday this past summer and her family had ensured that she celebrated in style with a garden party that went well into the small hours. Sadly, not long after her party, her health deteriorated and her Down Syndrome body became worn out. She had been the epicentre of her family all her life and the beautifully thought through funeral service gave full justice to that, filled with loving quotes from her nieces and nephews and a wonderful Eulogy from her brother who totally brought her memory alive. One of her young great nephews read a poem which included comic remembrances from all her nearest and dearest. The priest spoke of the special love a person with a cerebral impairment brings and the importance of focusing on the gentle ‘love givers’ in life, not the ‘star-makers’ seeking glory and I particularly liked that – the importance of focusing on the gentle love givers. And Patricia had been both a love giver and a joy giver, although I’m sure she’d had many moments of being infuriating and obstinate and cheeky as well!
And I couldn’t help but for my brain to whirr 40, 50, 60 years into the future to Sophia’s funeral. I desperately hope that my darling daughter has the same loving support throughout her life that Patricia had. I desperately hope that people will be around at her funeral to remember the love and joy that she brought her family and how immensely loved she herself was. I desperately hope that she has a life filled with laughter, mischief and joy as Patricia did. But at the back of my mind, I’m terrified that my disparate family will lose their way and she’ll be left on the sidelines once her Granny, Poppa and I have gone.
One of Patricia’s nephews wrote a beautiful poem in her memory for her Order of Service and has very kindly given me permission to include it here:
“You were a daughter, a sister, an Aunty, a friend
As great a gift as God could send
You loved, you inspired, you were a guiding light
A star that will forever and always shine bright
I know that I will never again see your face
But I know that you’re happy and in a good place
So I’ll weep and I’ll pray, but I will not be sad
‘Cause I’ll always reflect on the life that you’ve had
And I’ll smile xxx”
What a wonderful remembrance of a love giving lady. Oh that somebody will want to write such beautiful words for my darling girl in the future. And just writing that now, fills me with fearful tears again. Who’s to say, however, that anybody will ever want to write something like that about any of us? But for those of us able in mind and body we have a certain amount of control in our lives. We can give of ourselves, help others, lead caring lives which in turn hopefully fulfils us and finds us love and we can chose not to do any of that and accept the consequences, but we have a choice. Patricia and Sophia and those like them don’t have that choice and are heavily reliant on others’ goodwill. Will that be enough for Sophia? She doesn’t have a large family to support her and see her through and her brother can’t be expected to shoulder everything alone in the future.
It’s one of those moments where I wish I didn’t ever think of what lies ahead, where I could block it out and just live in the present. But I can’t, I’m not engineered like that, no matter how hard I try. All I can do is hope.