I know after nearly 24 years of ministry as a Salvation Army Officer (vicar, pastor) and having conducted countless funerals - that when someone dies all you can realistically do is listen to the bereaved, whether it be a friend, family member or someone they just met on occasions. This morning that was all I could do – listen - because I still have laryngitis – just listen as two of my ladies from Thames View Lodge tell me how Harry dropped down dead in the communal lounge whilst decorating the Christmas tree for all the residents.
Harry, who organizes the Bingo every week – Harry, who organizes the theatre trips, outings, meals, entertainment – Harry, who is always there you just have to knock on his door and he will sort things out for you; and so they went on and on and on. They hadn't realized how much a part of their lives Harry had been until now.
What do you say? I couldn't NO VOICE – so I cuddled them both took their hands and we bowed our heads and in the silence we remembered Harry, we silently prayed for Harry's wife Jean and their family and all the residents at Thames View Lodge whose lives Harry had touched or had been a part of over the last eight years.
Even after all these years – nearly 24 years – it doesn't get any easier and sometimes there is no need for words.
"The death of someone we know always reminds us that we are still alive - perhaps for some purpose which we ought to re-examine." Mignon McLaughlin
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38,39