Joshua is about to meet almost all of his extended family over the next two days : later today we are at my cousin’s baby’s christening, where ,after a long drive, he will be surprised to be greeted by his Aunt, cousin and Granny as well as Great Aunts and Uncle. Then tomorrow he will attend a much sadder event, the funeral of his Grandad where he will see all three of his other cousins, his two other Aunts and Uncles and Nanna. Two church services and two family gatherings, but with very different purposes : one welcoming a new addition to the family and the other, saying goodbye to the head of my in-laws family.
These paralells began when Joshua was born, his Great Grandad died just days before Joshua was born, so he never saw the much-wanted son of his only Grandson. Grandad Fred’s funeral took place while Joshua was still in special care, so my husband left us briefly to bravely speak at his Grandad’s funeral. But we both believe that his spirit is around us, so that he has actually met his great-grandson and we still regularly smell his pipe-tobacco smoke around. He ‘sent’ a charm , which said ‘I love you’ on it, via Joshua’s cousin, when baby Joshua was first born. So I personally get real comfort from the belief that those who have died, still watch over us, and I frequently recognise signs that my own deceased father is still sharing in our lives and always makes some kind of appearance on significant dates.
My Dad loved babies and so he would really have enjoyed today’s christening, attended by three new baby boys who were all born into our family last year and sadly my Uncle, who would have been grandfather to two of the babies, died before meeting either of his grandsons. But both brothers would have been really proud of their own children and their children’s children and we should not be too sad that they are not there to enjoy the celebration, but should celebrate the fact that they existed at all, as without them, today would not have taken place. We will fill our stomachs with tasty food, toast the new family additions and we will be thankful for what we have got today. Any tears should be happy ones, but I am well aware that we are about to embark on two very different, but emotional days.