My granddaughter Leila (7) was staying over at the weekend and on our way to the cinema to see Aladdin she was talking about birthdays and how her birthday is next. I corrected her and said Uncle Zachary is soon and then it would be Aunty Anna’s etc etc…………………….
So she asks has Aunty Anna got a grave, as she would like to put flowers for her on her birthday. So I said no. Oh, so she is ashes then? Where are they? she asks. At my house, I said. No further discussion. She is quiet. Then a minute later she said, I wish it wouldn’t be Mother’s Day for another 2 years. Why, I asked. Because you were so sad on Mother’s Day…………….
Since the death of my Mum in 2017 and more recently my daughter Anna in November last year, the experiences of journeying through an expected death and a sudden loss have been challenging in so many ways. Mum had her funeral planned; who was going to do what, what she was going to wear, hymns, readings etc. With Anna we were shell shocked and the bureaucracy of death and planning to bring her home from Edinburgh where she lived; they were tasks to focus on, delaying our real grief till after the funeral.
And so recently, because of my own personal experience, I have been sharing about CAFOD’s award winning project from 2015, that illustrates how no one is beyond reach of our support; through prayer, through fundraising, through compassion, through partnership, through love.
The BOND Humanitarian Award recognised the courageous service of the more than 800 burial workers who served with SMART, a UK government-funded consortium comprising of World Vision, CAFOD, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Together the three agencies trained and equipped burial workers to conduct Safe and Dignified burials for Ebola victims across Sierra Leone.
We continue to work with our partners in Sierra Leone and last year our Gap Year volunteers visited there. Life goes on.
As hard as it was and continues to be, we were able to plan and organise for Mum and Anna’s funerals, gathering family and friends to mourn and celebrate their lives with us; something perhaps we take for granted.