It was an uncharacteristically glorious and sunny bank holiday weekend (and the sky remains halcyon as I write this). The seemingly endless sequence of days off (not that they tend to mean much if one is self-employed, but we were at least on holiday at the time); a triumphant Royal PR exercise, with the British doing the pageantry as only they know how; locally to me, Norwich FC make their way into premier league.
Some might include the death of a murderer in this list of 'reasons to be cheerful'. I don't. I've already written about that this morning.
I am, however, brought up short by the death and illness that's been brought to my notice in the last couple of days. I know none of these people personally, but they are all dear to friends of mine.
I arrived home from our post-Easter holiday to be told, within the last 48 hours, of
- ... the death, one year ago tomorrow, of the daughter of a family-history contact. It was her forty-fifth birthday; she died of Sudden Death in Epilepsy; she left two children, aged 8 and 10.
- ... the death, just last week, of the daughter-in-law of a friend from my local drama group. She was 37; she had a sudden brain aneurism; she leaves three children, the oldest of whom is five years old.
- ... the illness of a dear friend of an old school-friend of mine, who has phoned and asked for my prayers for him: he is seldom conscious now, and had effectively to be woken up to be told that he was dying.
These are the events that leave us all shaken and afraid, indignant and searching for reasons, dumb and desperate for words. Our prayers and thoughts and wishes seem insufficient, but in the end, they are all we have in the tool-kit. Beyond that, all we can do is to give even greater thanks for our own lives, and for those things that make us happy: for sunshine, for an English spring, for opportunity and inspiration and courage, for friends and happy times while we have them.
For these people, and all who care for them and their families, please direct your prayers - or your positive thoughts, if you prefer - to their comfort; and to our own rejoicing in the time we have and the facilities we can use to the best of our ability.
And for my favourite reflection on our time on earth, no matter how long or short, please have a look at a posting I made a few days ago.