At the start of the month, I had the strong conviction on one of the mornings, that November was going to be the start of a new personal season.
That evening, I had the shock news that my mother-in-law, Rosemary, had died. She had been diagnosed with cancer a couple of months previously.
We knew that it was terminal but her death wasn’t expected so suddenly. Due to the COVID-19 situation, we hadn’t been able to see her either, since the time of diagnosis.
Even when my wife, Debby, took things to her (she had just been transferred from hospital to a home) she had to hand them over at the door.
My wife had been looking after her mom for ten years since her dad died, and we had said many times that when the commitment was no more, we would move to our ‘forever home’.
Having taken out a mortgage at the age of eighteen, we’ve been free of that burden for a number of years now.
Therefore, that season of change is very imminent. That’s happy change.
Back to Rosemary though, and we’re busy at the moment dealing with all the practical things, which, as anyone who has been in that position will tell you, is quite involved.
We’re also having to work through her house and sort out personal belongings. That can be both sad and happy at the same time.
The former because you are dealing with bereavement but the latter in the sense that you are exposed to positive memories.
Coming across old photograph albums was time for reflection. There were some family shots that went deep into the twentieth century.
The lead image is of Rosemary when she was younger. Born in 1937, that was from some years ago.
I have no idea where it was taken, or the background behind it, and to everyone else it’s just an old photograph of a girl on a beach somewhere.
To me though, it’s special. It means a lot. It’s a connection with the past.
It’s also a reminder that every one of us one day will pass on. It will literally be a case of here today, gone tomorrow.
My last personal contact with Rosemary was in hospital, when we had just been told she was dying.
As well as her son-in-law, I was also her pastor. We talked and prayed.
Rosemary was prepared for what was to come in her life.
One day we will all meet our maker. We’re never too young – or too old – to make our peace with God.