There were bluebells, a small random patch that surrounded just one tree in the woodland. They drew the eye immmediately as we wandered down the path, dodging puddles, a little anxious as to how D would cope with the rough terrain. After all, she is in her 80s now, and uses a stick…
We turned off the main path, and made our way through the beech mast and over fallen branches till we reached the tree. We stood in a circle, facing each other. Mother and brothers, twin and her husband, nephews and best friend. And me.
We’d met last July, when C had decided that his life no longer held meaning or purpose.
In the aftermath of his decision, we’d become close in a way that I suspect that distance and infrequency of meetings will never damage.
Since last summer of course we were different people,- we’d moved on. M had retired from work, and C had stopped working too. There was a new baby to celebrate, a tiny scrap of perfection with spikey hair and the loudest snore…a new being, totally himself, but who bears C’s name.
But we came together on a damp May evening because we needed to let go of one more thing.
Once again I read the psalm that had been sung at C’s funeral.
Once again we shared memories of love and gratitude
Once again we prayed
Then I opened that plastic cannister…so huge somehow….weighty beyond expectation….and slowly poured its contents – all that remains of the body that so distressed and perplexed C with its weakness- over the damply receptive ground.
The ashes mingled with the bluebells, and from somewhere a blackbird broke into its insistent, exuberant song.
The rain stopped, and the evening was golden with promise.
In God, our deaths are not the final word,
Our moments of crisis
Are part of eternal possibility
And our weakness is taken up into the courage of God.
In Christ, our humanness is touched with divine life
Our tears are mingled with the longing love of Jesus
And our solidarity with those who suffer
Is joined by the presence of God.
In the Spirit, there are no boundaries on the dream,
No endings to hope,
And a world beyond our seeing.
Whether we live or die, we will never stray
Beyond the cherishing of God.