I lost my father in 1978, when I was ten years old and not a day has gone by when I don’t think of him. The view in this photo is from the doorway of All Saints Church in Selworthy, Somerset. It overlooks the graveyard where my dad’s ashes lie amongst relatives and ancestors dating back to the 17th century.
So why am I blogging about this now? You know how you get those days when you feel the weight of all those who have gone before you, all those people that once loved you and who are no longer here…? If you do, then you’ll know where I’m coming from. I’m having a few of those days.
Earlier this week, I took my cousin, over from Canada, to visit the grave of my step-father, his uncle. My cousin brought a Canadian flag to place in the earth near the headstone, a poignant gesture as my step-father was born in Saskatchewan. It was a moving moment. We felt the presence of those once-loved and still-cherished family members hovering closely around us.
So I began to wonder where I would like my final resting place to be. Would it be my body buried here in Teignmouth, returned to the earth of my hometown? Would it my ashes scattered at sea or on the moors? Would it be up in Selworthy, near my dad to keep him company. Does it matter?
I think it does. Not for me, the departed, but for those left behind who need a place to go, to feel a connection to their past to help make sense of their present. Hopefully it will be a while before someone has to act on my behalf in this way, but it does us no harm to dwell on these matters from time to time. To appreciate what we have, who we love, the precious life given to us.
As I sit inside on a cold November night, listening to the bang of fireworks, it reminds me of the passing of the seasons, of the passing of time, and of the need to make the most of today, of now, as we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand. ~Irish Blessing