The impact of my husband's funeral on my life has been unexpected in many ways. It was a sad but wonderful day, in which his own family and the family of his church came together, all contributing, all much moved by the occasion, and well pleased to be united at this time, though they were not, sadly, in his lifetime.
At the age of 16, I had found it impossible, logically, to believe any longer in the Christian god, and have since then called myself an agnostic, whilst leaning from time to time towards a number of other belief systems. This difference between us might have been an insuperable obstacle, but somehow we made it work, at least while we raised our children, though I believe it was always a great sadness for my husband that I could not share his faith.
Over the years, I have often been aware of how much was missing from my life by not being part of a church family. With the funeral, during the arrangements, on the day, and afterwards, this has been brought into really sharp focus, as I came to appreciate fully just how much his church meant to him, and how much he was valued by the church.
Can we not create such communities around other focal points? We can be good, caring, generous and honourable people without being Christians, and yet we do not seem to find the same all-embracing commitment, cohesiveness and purposefulness in, say, the Women’s Institute, or other social bodies of people. Or do I do them an injustice?
Some of our friends left the funeral saying that they wanted one just like it! What I do know is that there is no local community at present which will join with my family to celebrate my life, as this church community has done for my husband. Mind you, he was a very special man, in ways which I could not aspire to, but even so ………