On Friday 22 January we spent two hours saying goodbye, with songs, tributes, laughter and tears.
There were no awkward moments - it mattered not when the candelabra had to be re-lit several times, or when the organist was a little slow. A sense of love and gratitude pervaded the place, through the tears.
Such opportunities strengthen all of us, as we build collective repositories from which to draw. After such a gathering, you come away with new resolve to pray more, and be kinder, and plough more into the lives of those nearest and dearest to you; new resolve, too, to be more hospitable and open-handed to everyone.
I had worn this bracelet, which represents the nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit:
The text for the sermon was that same "fruit of the Spirit", as Elizabeth truly displayed. This bracelet already had a special story attached to it; now it has another. Yet again, I am thrilled at God's blessing and grace.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.