One year on

We receceived this email - completely out of the blue. If we ever need to be reminded of why we are doing this it's all here. All I have done is remove the names...

I don't know if you remember my family and I, but you did our mum's () service for us last year.

Actually, it is a year ago tomorrow.

I wanted to say a huge thank you for making the service perfect, your kind words and all of your help dealing with our situation. (You gave lots of good advice to us about families living with an alcoholic, supportive words about staying strong as a family and gave us a little push to seek out contact with our youngest siblings, J and L).

A year on we are all doing well, our lives have changed for the better; we () now have close relationships with J and L (who we had very little contact with as they were in foster care). J moved out of foster care not long after Mum's funeral and L was asked to leave. He stays with me regularly when he's not in college. J and I have become very close too, we even got to take her out for her first legal drink(s) when she turned 18 recently. The best part is we all speak pretty much every day. We regularly all meet, visit the woods where mum's ashes are and just hang out, doing normal things normal families would do.

Ben took losing Mum the hardest, but has recently moved in with me and found his way again. C is having a baby (it's a girl and they're having her middle name as ...), ... is excited to be a big sister.

I know this is probably a strange email to receive, but the things you said to us at a time where everything was so hard (and looking a bit bleak) have really stuck with me. Especially fighting to have our youngest siblings in our lives.

So, I would like to again say a huge thank you to you for being so supportive during that time and to know that you did make a difference to our little family.

George's Funeral

Kevin 21st October 2016

Yesterday was a grey day... still and quiet, no wind to disturb the leaves… an ordinary October day in many respects.- yet for some, yesterday was far from ordinary. Yesterday was the day that we buried baby George.

I knew that I was going to write about this funeral, even at the beginning of the week, and yet yesterday, when it was time to put fingers to keypad, nothing came. No words. Just a white screen and a blinking cursor, and although I felt I had to write something and I had something to say, I felt dumb, speechless.

Today is a different day. The emotions, for me at least, are less raw and I can reflect on the funeral and what it meant deeply to all of us in some way.

In the morning, we had placed George’s tiny body into the little willow coffin that his Mummy and Daddy had chosen just as gently as we could. We uncovered his face... just a little... he looked perfect as if gently sleeping. Having spoken to Toria and Nick about it, we all agreed that a huge hearse just made no sense for a tiny baby, and so we used our own car - freshly valeted for the occasion and bedecked with black ribbon. We made the back as cosy as a nest with beautiful cloths, flowers, and surrounded George with a cloud of baby blue organza – just right for our precious cargo.

We processed away from the house to the church with full dignity and honour for George and his family. His Father gently carried baby George from the car into the Lady Chapel at Christchurch, for a service which was wonderfully conducted by Father Neil… himself a family friend and deeply moved by the occasion… close to tears.. as were we all. There were beautiful poems chosen by Toria and Nick, a touching rendition of ‘Pie Jesu’ from ‘Requiem’ by G. Faure sung by Angela, and a heart wrenching final tribute, words that Nick had written for his son.

His parents chose a burial for baby George, and although lowering such a tiny coffin into what seemed a large and hollow grave was a hard thing for me personally, how much harder was it for the family? We can only imagine. We left George nestled on a bed of Autumn leaves and showered with red rose petals...

The whole day, this whole terrible experience is something that the family were never prepared for, could never be prepared for. They had looked forward to the sleepless nights, punctuated by a baby’s cry. But no, the sleepless nights that they now endure are empty, wreathed in silence, hours waiting only for the dawn, and facing another day without their much longed for baby.

In spite of such a heart felt sadness there were moments of touching strength...the very best of people….holding our human frailty in the face of utter helplessness. The beauty of the sacred dignity of everyone present….the gentle compassion...a silent hand of comfort at a moment of profound vulnerability..when our hearts are so fragile...and all we understand is to love and comfort each other….in the sharing of tears with those who mourn….holding up, when the world seems to have let us down. These are the things that we will remember and hold dear...even in the darkest nights.

Rest peacefully George – your Daddy said it best of all when he said ‘Angels never die’…...

Baby George 

Kevin 13th October 2016

Yesterday I had the singular honour and privilege of picking up Baby George from hospital. He was wrapped up warmly in his blanket, his tiny, first baby-grow and little blue hat when I placed him, as gently as I could, into his crib – a beautiful baby, cuddling his first teddy. The moment reminded me immediately, of the first baby I had driven home from hospital – but that was many, many years, a life time ago.

I placed the little Moses basket on the back seat of my car, made sure he was properly wrapped up and fastened the seatbelt and we moved off gently, it was his first car journey after all, and no driver ever carries a more precious load than a new-born baby. As we drove away from the hospital, I chatted to him, telling him about all the different things we were passing on the road, tractors, cars, lorries, caravans and even donkeys in the fields! But, as is the way with babies, I'm not sure how much he was really listening, but I chatted anyway. It was a beautiful early Autumn day for a drive in the English country side. A few leaves fluttering down from the trees, the bluest of skies, rolling hills to negotiate & cyclists to overtake. We got stuck behind a lorry and a tractor, but we weren't in a hurry, as I said to George, “we've got some time, why not enjoy the trip?”.

I explained it all to George, and he was a patient audience. Eventually of course, I had to tell him where we were going and that he wouldn't be going home to the nursery that Mummy and Daddy had prepared for him but to the Chapel of Rest. It was a difficult moment for us both, but I chatted about it a while and reminded George, just how upset Mummy and Daddy had been when they had said goodbye at the hospital, it isn't what anyone wanted at all. It should have been Daddy driving Mummy and George home. But, sometimes, and this is definitely one of those truly awful times, life is desperately cruel and terribly unfair.

I did promise that I would keep an eye out for him and check up on him over the next couple of days, to see how he was and that I would tell his Mummy and Daddy about the journey we had taken. I also promised that I would drive him just as carefully to church in a few days time.

There is nothing I can say to Toria or Nick that will ease their pain. Nothing that I or anyone can do to bring George back, but I will look after him to the best of my ability, and when the time comes I will drive him on his final journey. His short life, a life that never really began has left an emptiness in many, many hearts. A soul wrenching sadness for his parents, grandparents uncles and aunts. However sad I feel about his loss though, I will always we able to say that he and I enjoyed our little drive in the Autumnal countryside on the 12th of October 2016.

Baby George Price - 7th October 2016 rest in peace George, you mattered, you will be terribly missed.

If you would like to make a donation in George's Memory. Then please give to Royal United Hospital Bath, Maternity Services “Forget-Me-Not Suite”

Funeral Poverty

by Simon

In September 2014, Quaker Social Action formed the Funeral Poverty Alliance, a network of not-for-profit organisations to campaign collectively against funeral poverty.

The Alliance believes that beyond the individual and family, society has a responsibility to ensure everyone has access to a meaningful, affordable funeral.

Their vision is a society where everyone has access to a funeral that

•is affordable, and doesn’t leave them facing financial hardship

•is meaningful to the person who has died and/or those arranging the funeral

•allows people to grieve without further financial distress

This is a view that is firmly echoed in our beliefs and values - if we can save you money - whilst still creating a meaningful, hearfelt funeral then that is what we will do - we will never charge you for something that you don't need and will re-imburse you any costs that you don't need to pay. 

We believe in a low cost funeral without poverty for everyone not a cheap funeral that no one wants

Samuel Norman Taylor 

3rd July 1921- 29th June 2016
Today we are thinking of the family of Samuel Norman Taylor - known by one and all as Norman. Born on 3rd July 1921 he passed away 29th June 2016. A fine hardworking gentleman , proud of his Son John he has a hardworker -owning and running a series of shops until he retired - he never took a holiday - not wanting  or feeling that he needed a break from his business, he did however have time for John taking time from work to teach John cricket - and watch him play, and also to fish together in the local rivers and streams.

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