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  • Legal Record...

    Much of today has been taken up with the legal recording of my Mum's death. This involved a fair amount of traipsing around, data giving, paper signing and document delivering.

    Tonight I travel home in possession of a legal document that records the cause of death as 'old age and extreme frailty.' In an era when causes and explanations are demanded, it is somehow the more precious for "old age" to be the cause.... Worn out, job done, life lived....that's as good as it gets.

  • Packing up...

    This afternoon, after we had been to meet the Funeral Director, my sister and I went to the care home and packed Mum's personal effects.  In under two hours, we had bagged/boxed everything to be taken away, filled several bin sacks with rubbish, and left items that could be used by the home, such as wool, dominoes, jigsaws...

    It was good to chat to the staff, many of them quite shocked by her sudden death, and it was good to have a tidy ending.

    As ever, it felt odd to drive away from somewhere for the last time, knowing another chapter was closed.

    Quite sobering that after more than 80 years, a life can be packed up in a couple of hours, and that, in a few weeks at most, someone else will enjoy the room that has been Mum's home for the last couple of years.  I read somewhere that the average 'dwell time' in a care home is two years - Mum managed that almost exactly.

    It feels positive to have so much practical stuff done - though all the 'legal' stuff has to wait until Monday.

    I have been incredibly moved by the messages of condolence that I have received, and feel very much the embrace of prayers and love that I know are surrounding us all at this time.  I know it is very early days, and I know the finality of it all has yet to hit me, but God is in it all, and sends angels in many guises.

  • Another milestone...

    Yesterday, suddenly, seemingly very quickly and almost certainly with little or no pain, my Mum died. Today I am in Northamptonshire starting the process of arranging her funeral, and the practicalities that go alongside death.

    With my Mum's death, an era ends, and I find myself not only the 'top generation' but, as an oldest child, the 'top of the top generation'. Whilst my Mum became the 'top generation' at the age of 59/60, she only became the top of the top at 80 - the age she was when this photo was taken - after her two older siblings had died.

    It still feels quite odd that I won't ever (in this life at least) speak to her again, and that the phone conversation we had on Saturday (or was it Sunday?) turned out to be the last 'bye for  now'. At the moment, there is lots to do, and maintaining normality is part of how I 'cope', but a day will come when it finally hits home that she really is gone.

    Lots to reflect upon - it's way too soon to write a tribute to her, rather I simply note that she was - and is - my Mum, and I love her.

  • If this is Wednesday....

    ... then it must be Glasgow!

    The next little while is very busy, as I will be taking part in events across a large sweep of the British mainland.

    On Friday, I travel southwards to Peterborough ahead of the BUGB-BMS Assembly.  I am looking forward to meeting up with a minister friend from Wales on the Friday evening and catching up on each other's news.  The event itself is all day Saturday, and I expect to see - if fleetingly - minister friends and folk from many churches (including a couple who didn't call me!).  After dinner with women ministers who are part of my online support network, it will be a train further into Cambridgeshire to stay overnight with friends before the privilege of a 'guest preach' on Sunday morning.

    Back on the train to Glasgow, sleep in my own bed and then on Monday morning, off to just outside Falkirk for the BUS Board of Ministry selection and accreditation conference for two days.  Here I will have the privilege of sharing with those seeking to become accredited ministers, and with those whose 'probationary period' is now complete.  Lots and lots of prep work still to be done for this - good job I have some  long train rides!

    All of that will bring me to the end of Tuesday, and then, once again, if it is Wednesday, it must be Glasgow!

    Blogging may be even more sporadic, but all is well, I'm probably just on a train to somewhere...!

  • Christian Aid Week - a Week Early!

    This morning we marked Christian Aid week, a week ahead of most people, which is unusual, because often we have one of the last churches to get there!

    We were thinking about 'home' and what makes a 'home' home... not bricks and mortar, but people; not perfection but authenticity; not unanimity but diversity.

    We were invited to sign a petition to HM Government, and we we were invited to write or draw prayers or messages on paper 'bricks' which will be posted to Christian Aid, and thence to the Prime Minister.  Some of the messages were heart-meltingly poignant, coming from people who have fled their homes - local and overseas - in fear and who now have to build new lives.  Here are a few 'bricks' chosen to illustrate the range of what people shared...