In my last post we were entering into the darkness of Good Friday, having finished the mandatum and stripping the church. I fully expected to reflect on Easter itself, but, to quote John Lennon, 'Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans.' I was part of the Good Friday liturgies, and after I got home, daughter and I did some gardening in the glorious late autumn sun. We got a call just after we came in to say that my mum's youngest brother had died very unexpectedly.
This whole week has been a blur in many ways. My loss cannot in any way compare to that of my aunt and cousins and their children, but I loved my uncle deeply and it was totally unexpected. I asked for leave for yesterday and today so we could go down to Palmerston North for his funeral, and it turned into a fairly eventful trip.
It was pouring with rain on the way down, and just north of Taihape we blew a tyre coming down off the Desert Road, and couldn't find the jack in hubby's car (my brother-in-law has since identified that the jack in a Toyota Yaris is kept under the left-hand front seat?!) so we waited ages for the AA, and were eventually saved by a knight in shining armour on his trusty steed, disguised as a local farmer in a raincoat and rain trousers driving a ute.... so we cancelled the call to the AA.
We finally arrived in Palmerston North, found our motel, had a very nice Mediterranean meal in a little restaurant underneath it, and went wearily to bed, to be woken at 3am by the fire alarm going off.... We wandered around the Square for most of an hour before they let us back in the building (fortunately the rain had stopped somewhere between going to bed and the alarm). And got woken around 8.30am by daughter screaming in pain.... so we scooted her off to ED to try and sort her out (fortunately it wasn't as serious as it originally presented). Finally got to the funeral about half an hour before it started....
The funeral itself was lovely, insofar as a funeral can be lovely. It perfectly reflected the character and passions of my uncle, who was an organist, a musician, a gardener, a passionate lover of God and people, a humble, funny, and brilliant man. He lived his life with gusto and humour, and his faith with courage and conviction. I don't know if he knew St Francis of Assisi, but he would have entirely approved of a quote attributed to him: "Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words." That was my uncle to a T. His gospel was love and compassion, dealt out with a quirky cheerfulness, a song, and usually a few terrible puns. He was unfailingly warm and caring to everyone who knew him, but he was never stodgy or heavy - that sly sense of humour was never far away.
It is awfully hard to imagine the family without him.