Friday, 31 January 2014


Friday morning came bleary eyed after a poorly boy had kept us awake until 4am and with it brought a toddler so full of fever he was red as a berry. Temperature plus 39 we stripped him off, dosed him with ibuprofen and his antibiotics and let him lay on the bed as we got ready. Finally dressing him in the lightest of clothes, his fever having thankfully already dropped the high 37s, we had to bundle him into the car and set off to St John's.
Within seconds of moving off George vomited all over himself and his car seat.
Cue mad dash back into the house, stripping him off again and cleaning him and seat as best we could. wrapping him in a blanket in case of further sickness we rushed back out again and to the church. I had already thought it would be better for me to attend alone, but this sickness was the final confirmation I needed that it was the best idea and I told Jon he must go back to the barn and look after George. Very sad as I knew he was desperate to support me at the funeral, but as things worked it it was all for the best.

St John's is a beautiful old church, tucked in amongst housing which has sprung up on all sides and with beautiful flint stonework, it has been 'refurbished' inside to give it multiple uses (aka-pews removed and replaced by plastic chairs) but it still retains it's charm with glorious fresco's, stained glass and a huge chandelier the like of which I've never seen before. I met Paul and Laura outside and we went in and met Margaret the lay preacher who would be conducting the service, then two ladies from the care home arrived and shortly after them, the funeral director. John's coffin was carried in on the shoulders of four immaculately dressed pall bearers from Richard Steele associates. They treated him with such care and respect I was really moved, and thought it was especially nice that they remained for the service. 
Margaret spoke with kindness and humour and Paul read his lesson from Lamentations. We spoke the Lord's prayer together and then with the same silent respect they removed the casket to the hurse. 
From here we went to the cemetery at Magdelen Hill, a short drive in the limo down the Alresford Road, and a real taste of the farmland my Dad must have known as a child, the woods he must have poached in and the lanes he must have walked. 
I've never been to an interment before, but must say I found it to be incredibly peaceful and natural and full of care and respect. Margaret read the words we all know 'earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust...' and the pall bearers lowered the casket into the grave. We were offered a dish of dry earth to throw into the grave and first Paul and the Laura did so. I asked the lovely funeral director John Barton-Rumbold could I cast a flower in, and he chose me a beautiful full bloomed rose from the arrangement. I said goodbye then as I let go the flower and stepped back from the graveside. 
Our journey back in the limo felt like a relief, we'd done the very best we could for Uncle John, worn our best clothes, said our prayers and bid our farewell's to the earth. 

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