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Sunday, 30 March 2014

We were never going to be ready for this.

On Monday 24th March well over 250 people attended our local Parish Church to say their final farewell to my precious Suzie. She was so well loved by people of all ages and backgrounds, and the church was packed. As my family and I arrived with Suzie's hearse our vicar greeted us at the church gate. Our tears were already flowing and he looked at me with deep compassion in his eyes and said, 'Nick, we were never going to be ready for this day.' He was right. Whilst I felt that everything had happened so quickly towards the end, and that we had hoped so much to have one more summer together, and that other people had nursed their loved ones for so much longer than the two years that we'd spent facing Suzie's illness.... actually, this day was always going to come, and, no matter when it did, it was always going to feel far too soon.
The church service was perfect, the Bible passage was read beautifully by Suzie's cousin, and the tribute was delivered tenderly and eloquently by our lovely Reverend Graham. 
The music and the Hymns seemed to fit perfectly and the whole occasion was flawless. As Suzie's coffin was carried out of church and she made her final exit there was a spontaneous round of applause from the whole congregation. Suzie had been a great theatrical performer for most of her life and she would have been thrilled by this.
After the service our immediate family accompanied us to the Crematorium to say our more intimate farewell at a private committal service, whilst other friends made their way to the local Theatre where my daughter and some dear friends had spent the whole morning laying out tables full of food for a 'Farewell Party' to celebrate Suzie's life. 
For my family and me the day passed by in a bit of a blur. I had expected the music to touch me in a deeply emotional way, but, in reality, my kids and I were already in such a profound depth of grief by the time we arrived at the church that I don't think anything could have moved us any deeper. Part of me feels like I 'missed out' because it all seemed to pass by so quickly. Part of me wanted to hold on to that final 'goodbye' and make it last for ever. I look at Suzie's photo now and feel totally engulfed by the desolation of knowing that it's all over. She's gone, and my life will never be the same again.
So where do I go from here? At the moment I feel like I'm stuck in a time warp and I'm trapped in a moment in time that has no beginning and no end. Over the last week I have been given a few distractions in the form of visits or invitations from family and a couple of close friends. I'm trying so hard to accept these times of contact with others, even though my nature and my desire is to retreat into myself. Socialising was never something that I was overly comfortable with even when Suzie was well, and it's a million times harder without her. I can't begin to imagine how I will ever be able to build a new life without Suzie. She was my life, and, without her, I feel like I've lost the very essence of who I am. I have also been thrown completely by the many unexpected facets of grief that have besieged me and have taken me by surprise. I have struggled with things that are totally contrary to my nature and my usual personality. I have felt like I simply can't function without Suzie. Even as I type, the tears, yet again, begin to fall, and my mind becomes foggy, so maybe I will share more about these things next time.
I have a most wonderful family and some very dear friends who, I'm sure, will walk this painful journey with me at my pace and with the love and prayerful support that will uphold me. I know that, however much it breaks my heart, I have to let Suzie go and I have to rejoice with her that she is now free and in the safe arms of her Saviour.
I leave you with the beautiful words that were written especially for Suzie by a dear friend when she heard that Suzie had reached the end of her life's journey.  

"And on the Wings of Angels shall I be lifted up into the realms of Heaven,
and placed gently into the arms of my Saviour, from where I shall never again part.
For now I have made my final Homecoming, and my soul doth rejoice,
For Jesus has answered the longing of my heart.
Weep not for me, dear loved ones yet remaining,
For to want me back is not truly living.
If tears shall fall, let there be no complaining.
Remember me with laughter, with joy and thanksgiving."
by Kathy Whitlatch Garrett



Rest in peace my precious angel. I love you to the moon and back, and I always will.xxxx