Farewell lovely Kate

Hello everyone!  The rain has been torrential at times to day,
as though all the earth has been grieving for my friend.  Today we said goodbye to Kate, who was my
younger daughter Cathy’s best friend; they had been friends since pre-school
and were always in and out of each other’s homes; she was like another daughter
to me.  Kate lost her long battle with a
brain tumour when she slipped peacefully away on September 24th
surrounded by her family.  For Cathy the
loss of Kate has been devastating, as she felt she was the only one who
understood her, but she is comforted by her loving partner Ken, the joy of
looking her godson Joseph, Kate’s gift to us all and her friendship with Luke,
Kate’s beloved husband. 

 

The service was to
celebrate Kate’s life rather than to dwell on the loss of her.  The service had a happy picture of Kate on
the front with two pictures on the back; one as a child and the other of her
standing on the Great Wall of China with her arms spread out.  All the photos I have show her smiling and
full of life, which is how I want to remember her.  She has a loving family who welcome all who
come into their family, as one of them. 
The opening hymn was a tribute to Kate’s love of travelling and joy in
life:

‘One more step along
the world I go’ and the verse that sums up Kate’s courage is to me:

‘Give me courage when
the world is rough,

Keep me loving though
the world is tough;

Leap and sing in all I
do,

Keep me travelling
along with you:

 

And it’s from the old I
travel to the new;

Keep me travelling
along with you.’  Those words will
encourage me to remember her irrepressible joy in life.

 

Cathy read from the
book of wisdom (3:1-9) a passage chosen by Kate’s family.  The first paragraph was perfect for that
situation:

‘The souls of the
virtuous are in the hands of God, no torment shall ever touch them.  In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to
die, their going looked like a disaster, their leaving us, like annihilation;
but they are in peace.’

 

Psalm 23 was read with
responses for us to give; a perfect psalm for such a service.  The gospel reading always makes me think of
mother, as it was always comforting to her and I particularly love the first 3
verses John 14:

‘Do not let your hearts
be troubled. Trust in God, still, and trust in me.  There are many rooms in my Father’s house; if
there were not, I should have told you. 
I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and
prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am
you may be too.’

 

The priest’s homily
really brought Kate to life again, as he talked about her love of her family
and friends; the way she lived life to the full, coping with all that life
brought her with humour and courage; she fought to the end to make the most of
her life with her beloved husband Luke, who gave her the happiest 8 years of
her life and together they surrounded their baby Joseph with love.  Kate’s love of mischief and practical jokes
was also referred to!  Cathy and Kate
giggled together as they got up to mischief of various kinds.  Travelling with Cathy and other friends to
Australia, Kate met Luke in Cairns (he was from Essex!); Cathy and Kate were
dressed as men and Luke as a woman for some funny party; they helped him with
his make up!

 

Luke gave a eulogy on his
lovely wife and he talked of her smiles and her positive outlook on life and
the way she gave herself fully to life and its experiences.  The final hymn’s chorus gave us the bereaved
comfort as it reminded us that the Lord would walk with us:

 

‘Walk with me, oh my
Lord,

Through the darkest
night and brightest day

Be at my side, oh Lord,

Hold my hand and guide
me on my way.’  I loved the words of 2
verses too:

 

‘Sometimes the road
seems long,

My energy is spent.

Then, Lord, I think of
you

And I am given
strength.’ And

 

‘Help me to pierce the
mists

That cloud my heart and
mind,

So that I shall not
fear

The steepest
mountain-side.’

 

There was one surreal
moment when the priest had been sprinkling holy water and swinging incense over
the coffin and he suddenly seemed to be on the floor dealing with something;
apparently a large black Labrador came sniffing round the coffin and was sent
home by the priest!  Cathy and Ken
witnessed that odd incident but I could not see it from my seat and wondered
what they were whispering about!

 

Then we all drove on to
Stonefall Cemetery for her burial.  The
whole atmosphere was just like in the films; the wind blew and the rain poured
down, as we stood under umbrellas watching the priest perform the final
rites.  I could only catch odd words that
he was saying because of the wind and the rain. 
Afterwards flowers were thrown on the coffin by the family and then we
were all given petals to throw on the coffin, as we said goodbye to her.  There was a collection plate for brain tumour
research and our local Hospice, St Michael’s Hospice in Kate’s memory.  That was the day that the Lord has made and I
rejoice and am glad in it.

 

 

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