On Monday 2 March I went to Mass at the local church with my twin brother and my mum. Of course the death of Emily was on our minds. I was however mildly amused to discover that the priest has just begun the practice of saying the Prayer to St Michael at the end of Mass. This is something we are trying to stop at St Lawrence!
There was an amazing turn out for the funeral. I got there early and was able to visit the graves of my maternal grandparents, my Dad and Anne my dear sister who died from cancers at the age of 40.
There were so many people gathered that they could not fit into the small chapel. Fortunately most of the family and close friends were able to enter. The service was beautifully conceived and directed. It was of course very emotional.
After the service we gathered at the Royal Oak in New Malden. It was great to see that so many people made it there, especially the young folk who would have known Emily well. In addition to the many relatives I was also pleased to meet up with Sylvia and Mary who had sung in my very first choir at St Agatha’s when I was just a lad!
I was having trouble with my dental partial so I did not eat much … but the wine flowed!
The following day I drove to Walton-on-Thames for the funeral of Paul Reed my old music teacher at St George’s College, Weybridge. It was good to meet up with other ‘old boys’ who had been part of the College Choir and the organist Andrew Dean who was also a pupil of Stephen Hicks. I was shocked to see how changed was Bill Hayward who played the organ for the service. He has been in a medically induced coma after open heart surgery and had only recently been discharged. He was a shadow of his former self but his musicianship had remained, despite not having the physical energy to play the pedals.
On the Wednesday I went to meet up with Terri Coyle, an old friend with whom I had lost contact. Her mother had died the same day as Emily and we had so much to discuss.
I left mum’s at 9am on Thursday and got to Gatwick ahead of schedule and handed over the hire car with far more ease than I had collected it. I adjourned to the bar where I was surprised to find the same beer which had taken my fancy the previous evening (and £1 cheaper). At the Tampa end of the trip Mary Baker from the choir was there to collect me and return me to my car. I was home soon after and asleep very quickly.
I slept in on Friday and still slightly jet-lagged I pottered around the house. In the evening I went into work to set up for the Mens Conference the following day. Mass was at 8am so I was there at 7.30am. After Mass I did some admin and then a wedding followed by the usual Vigil Masses. I’d taken a pill to give me a good sleep but awoke on Sunday feeling really groggy. I made it through the first 4 Masses and after a rest was able to return refreshed for the evening Mass.
Monday was a day off and since the weather promised to be sunny I retired to the beach for the day, returning to watch a couple of films on Netflix.
During the evening I heard that an announcement would be made on Wednesday about who the new Pastor at St Lawrence would be.