Monday, September 07, 2009
A note to my Father on the anniversary of his death
I wore your waistcoat today; the plain black one with the silk back. Morning Dress trousers (to me you always seemed to be wearing them), a shirt form the Jermyn Street shirt makers that can be seen from the upper bay window of your old club in St James. I also wore the tie that we wore in solidarity at your funeral: the one I put on when the liturgies were over and I had taken off my robes and was allowed to mourn.
You had made it so clear that at your funeral we were to give thanks and celebrate your life - your friends were so numerous and from so many walks of life that it was like organising a State Funeral - Your choice of the final hymn “Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices; who wondrous things hath done.” All this helped to lift us beyond our grief and to see the great things you had achieve in your life and the greater things you expected from those in whom you had invested your time, your energy and your love.
The photograph we used for the cover of the Order of Service for your Thanksgiving and Farewell liturgies still sits on the top shelf of the low bookcase in my office. It shares a place with my favourite Madonna & Child picture and my Licence from the Bishop. I think it is now time to replace it and I will find a picture of us together to put in its place.
I can’t explain this feeling - one that should speak of separation but that brings us closer together. The sense that doesn’t say ‘I whished Dad could have been here for this’ but says ‘Son I am here with you, I am still praying for you and rejoicing with you’.
It’s strange. I find myself crying with those who still cry as we talk of you. I cry sometimes when I go to the piano and play your favourites songs. But I cry only for the loss of the physical nearness of you, for you are still near every day. I proudly wear your clothes along with your ring and I remember you daily about the altar.
Today, across the world, you have been remembered. The finest wine has been drunk, flowers have been gathered, the mass has been offered and tears have been shed.
In the morning we will remember you, in our joys and sorrows we will ask for your prayers. In our lives, our homes and in each tomorrow you will play your part.
Rest in Christ; pray for us.