Yesterday I attended a funeral which was heartening in its beautiful memories of a kind, generous and clever man who had put his family and education of others at the centre of his life. It was a life well lived by a man who was interested in other people and everything around him. A life with travel and exciting work but balanced by very strong roots in the Welsh town in which he was born and ended his days. A hugely successful professional life lived to its fullest.
And, maybe more importantly, a gorgeous family. I know his son better than I knew him, and his son is an amazing legacy of a man who spent years driving his children around South Wales to various activities and all the while encouraging and supporting them to try whatever they wanted to, persuading them to give their all to whatever endeavour they had chosen. His son is kind, generous and interested in everything, a chip off the old block. His wife speaks of losing her rock, her best friend, but has the determination to enter this new chapter of her life with the knowledge he would want her to find contentment and to continue being active. The two grandsons I know well are confident, clever, curious lads who made their grandfather proud and who were dignified and mature throughout yesterday’s ceremonies. The measure of the man is in those he has left behind.
Yesterday I learned so much about him and it was uplifting to know that marvellous people live and influence and leave behind so many great memories amongst those they worked and lived with. Funerals are not always the most popular ceremonies (unlike weddings and baptisms?) and there is a sense of duty of attending them, but in the main I have always found them uplifting occasions. Even in sadness, there is a comfort in coming together and sharing our sadness together. Even in loss there is a strength to be found in sharing our memories and allowing a person to live on in those memories.
All of this is written from the perspective of someone on the periphery of the funeral yesterday. I know that these are very hard times for those who are dealing with a huge loss and great sadness and my prayers are with them this morning, and I hope that they can glean comfort from yesterday.