... to our friend Barbara today. The church was nearly full. She had a very active life and was involved in many things, hence had many friends who came to say goodbye. We knew she was, in her younger years, a solicitor, before she gave it up to become a SAHM (stay at home Mum) but what I didn't know was how she became one. She started her working life as a secretary. She decided to take that further and studied to become a Legal Executive. Once that was attained she took another step and became a solicitor and then the family came along. She made the choice to stay at home and raise the children - now grown. She put her talents to work in many other ways. School Governor, amateur operatic society, volunteer assistant at the local primary school and many, many more. She lived her life to the full and I'm sure still had plenty to give.
Having survived a couple of serious health scares, including breast cancer, over the years, she was heavily into fitness and exercised regularly. She, and her hubby JLD (John), had recently started to learn Nordic walking and were looking forward to getting more into it as the weather improved. She swam every day. They have their own indoor pool in the grounds of their property. They had plans for the coming years of their retirement. She took great enjoyment from her very young grandchildren, who will never now know their grannie and, because of their young age, are unlikely to remember her in years to come.
This evening was to be our regular, planned evening meet. I'm sure JLD had no thought of this date when the funeral was arranged. Fate seems to have stepped in and declared that we were to keep the 'date' with our friends, including Barbara. Just not in the way we normally do. We kept the date this evening, we kept the date this afternoon. Some think we shouldn't have kept the date this evening. Some think it disrespectful. We think it was ordained. We think it was Barbara making sure it was kept. She didn't miss any in life if she could help it. She changed appointments to keep the dates, and/or insisted JLD did else she'd come on her own. We kept the 'date' and we raised a glass, shared our thoughts and memories as a group. It seemed right, it seemed that Barbara got her way and kept this one last date.
Barbara's death was so sudden, so unexpected but she lived her life to the full and her last days were spent enjoying herself, on holiday, with her family. Perhaps we all need to really learn to live every day as if it's our last as one day it will be, as it was for Barbara. There was no warning, no time to prepare for what was to happen. A light put out.
Rest in Peace Barbara ~ 27th April 1944 - 18th March 2011