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A Loving Tribute By Friends

I officiated a ceremony for a lovely lady, whose life ended far too young, at 51.

Her family all live overseas but she had a family here in the U.K., comprising of her friends.

Her dearest friend was my contact. At her home, we discussed instructions Anabel had left – music, poem and a note she had written. We talked about this lovely lady and friend.

Most people don’t know how to arrange a funeral, unless they have already arranged one, people don’t know how to grieve and it is different for every person and for each person you lose, most people won’t even talk about death, yet it is inevitable that you will have to face it one day, losing a loved one and one day your own death.

It is a subject which is considered taboo, despite its inevitability.

This lady bravely faced the inevitability and made preparations, lightening the burden of choice.

A lady who gave so much and asked for so little in return. Her friends arrived to say farewell, some from quite a distance, all of them nurses or health care workers, all givers in life.

It was a beautiful service, if I say so myself, for the most beautiful soul. As a Celebrant our aim in talking about the deceased with their next of kin, is to get to know them, posthumously. Some people, however, really touch your heart and soul and you feel like you do know them, this lady is one of those people.

The music she chose for her ceremony is heart-breaking. Her farewell song I had to listen to a number of times before the service to lessen the effect on myself.

Her many, loving friends arrived and followed her into the chapel, each placing a flower on her coffin.

Her family are all oversees, so they joined us via the wonders of technology, on a live stream link, as well as a number of phones facing me, recording or connecting to others abroad.

She is truly loved, there was not a single person in attendance who did not cry. The tears flowed. Silently, respectfully, but full of love and sadness. What I was looking at was something beautiful. I wish I could have captured it as if it were a painting it was priceless. You ask how can I say that a chapel full of tears is beautiful? Because each of those tears represented love, each tear was a special moment shared, a memory, a moment of laughter or kindness, a shared special occasion, or a moment of compassion and all those tears represented love. Love, the greatest gift of all, something remarkably beautiful.

Her life may have been short, but it mattered, she made a difference to so many people in loving, compassionate friendship, in her care and compassion for her patients, for her love, generosity and care for her family.

She will be missed, she will be remembered. She has in her life touched many hearts and souls, including mine.

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