Times of joy and times of sorrow

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3 NIV)

We booked an emergency trip to the UK to say goodbye to my Dad, but events overtook us and we travelled knowing that he had already died some sixteen hours before we left home. 

As expected it was a time of mixed and sometimes intense emotions.  My brother Iain presided at the funeral, I have put his address up here.  I think I found out more about my Dad in those ten minutes than I had ever gleaned from forty years of knowing him; he was a private person where his own life story was concerned. 

But there were also plenty of joys.  In the days before and after the funeral we were blessed with some wonderful quality time with family and friends.  Our smallest boy had his first birthday so we took a selection of cousins to the farm for a picnic:-

Danny on tractor  Joni on tractor  Harry on tractor

I think I’ve taken a photo of Joni on that tractor every year since he was Danny’s size(!)

kids on slide birthday tea

Joni has been gradually working his way through some of my favourite ancient Walt Disney films (they don’t make them like they used to; maybe I’m getting old) and he was overjoyed when TAM airlines took us over central London on the way in to Heathrow; “Look Mummy, there’s the bridge from Peter Pan”.  Full credit to him for his sharp powers of observation.  So we did a day out in London and blew some bubbles on our way across his bridge:-

Tower bridge  Joni on tower bridge

Blowing bubbles  Martin on tower bridge 

And there were sunny days… slow mornings… picnics…. real beer… walking the dog…. Granny’s garden…. English strawberries… icecream… family… good friends….

Danny eating icecream Harry paddling 

Joni paddling   Danny in garden

“Mummy, I want to stay and live in England now”

“Okaaaaay…. (back pedalling while we think about how we’re going to handle this one…)  So why’s that, sweetie?”

“Because of the custard”

I’m still trying to come up with an answer to that. 

“You and I can share the silence
Finding comfort together
The way old friends do
And after fights and words of violence
We make up with each other
The way old friends do
Times of joy and times of sorrow
We will always see it through
Oh I don’t care what comes tomorrow
We can face it together
The way old friends do”
   (Abba lyrics, maybe not quite as divinely inspired as Ecclesiastes, but who’s counting?)

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