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Saturday, 9 February 2008

Remembering Alison

The day was absolutely beautiful. The sun shone all day and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Graham went to collect his Mum and Dad and then we drove to Cambridge stopping off at Chris's house before going to the cemetery. Alison's ashes were in a beautiful wooden casket and Graham and Chris lowered them into the ground via two purple ribbons ( purple was her favourite colour). Keith the college chaplain officiated and there were lots of tears and grief overflowed to all her friends who were present. It is so hard to see eighty year old people grieve for the loss of their child. I was determined to be strong for everyone and God enabled me to do that. Keith allowed a period of silence and all that could be heard were the birds sweetly singing in the trees a first sign of Spring.

My friend called first thing and read psalm 65 out to me over the phone. However I was just about to go out of the door to take the children to school and couldn't really concentrate. Once back at home I opened my bible and read psalm 46 as I thought that was the psalm she gave to me.

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

I meditated upon it thinking it didn't sound like the psalm which was read out to me but incredibly apt and texted her to thank her. She replied saying it was psalm 65! So I read that and thought that psalm 46 comforted me as opposed to psalm 65 which is a psalm of thanksgiving.

Psalm 65

Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled.
O you who hear prayer, to you all men will come.
When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.
Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.
You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, who formed the mountains by your power,having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations.
Those living far away fear your wonders; where morning dawns and evening fades you call forth songs of joy.
You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.
You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.
The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness.
The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.


After the service we went to The Boot in Histon and had some sandwiches and coffee. There were about twenty of us who sat and talked about Alison. I had mixed feelings about the day. It was a good thing to meet and commerarate Alison's life but I just felt it was reliving the whole funeral again. It also brought home to me the need to proclaim the gospel and tell people about Jesus as life is so short. We still don't know whether Alison gave her life before she died and according to Chris she told the nurses she didn't believe in God. However that was before we saw her in hospital six days before she died and we were able to tell her that many people were praying for her. She said that we should encourage the children to continue to be involved in church which has stuck in my mind as if she didn't have an iota of faith why would she say that.

We drove back to Bedford and stopped off at Tesco to do a weekly shop. Graham was a nightmare in the store-much worse than the children trying to sneak all kinds of things into the trolley including an abs trainer! We did giggle at the checkout when the cashier thought Graham was one of the packing staff as the blue checked shirt and blue jumper he was wearing is exactly like the uniform of the Tesco staff!

We then collected Rosie from school who was surprised to see her Dad in the playground as he is never around to pick her up from school. Harry and his friend walked home from school and Charlie went to his friend's before going up to church.

Dashed around making tea for the children and Graham before taking Rosie to ballet. Graham took Harry and his friend to church and then I collected Rosie to take her to a friend's before going out for the evening. I went to my other book club which doesn't appear to be a book club anymore! It started out as a Christian reading group but last night over some lovely food we shared our passions. One woman brought her violin and played a couple of beautiful heartwarming, soul searching pieces which are played at Jewish festivals. I talked about my work with families at Cornerstone and somebody else talked about her passion to encourage women with their self esteem. Unfrotunately I had to leave early to collect Charlie and three other children from church to take them home but it was a good evening.

I am sat writing this in the conservatory over looking the garden. It is another beautiful day and the sun is slowly melting all the frost in the garden. The daffodils are shooting up through the ground although are not ready to bud yet. So far this morning I have seen two squirrels chasing each other, two robins on the fence and two magpies in the willow tree amongst other birds. Spring is definitely approaching.

Graham has gone to a men's breakfast at church, Charlie is still in bed, Rosie is watching Wallace and Grommit and Harry is still at his friend's. I must go and get on with the day. We're off to some friends' for dinner tonight which will be nice.

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