Farewell To Chris

Today was the day of the funeral of my brother, Chris. Jackie drove Louisa and me to join family and friends at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Wroughton, for the requiem mass; to the other side of Swindon for the cremation service, and back to Wroughton for the reception.
Both the church and the crematorium were packed out with family and friends from his various walks of life. They came from all over the UK and from France, bringing together all the strands of his life.
Here is just one example.┬áMy brother was a much-loved member of The Catenians, a group of Catholic laymen who met monthly to enjoy each other’s company and to:
Pray at meetings
Look after members and families in difficulty
Enjoy life with families and friends
Raise money for charities
Support vocations.
Such was their respect for him that his group, about to set off on a coaching holiday, began by attending the mass.
Dylan Thomas, in perhaps his most famous poem, ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’, advised his father to ‘Rage, rage, against the dying of the light’.
Chris, more at peace with himself than was the troubled poet, did ‘go gentle’, and was thus, as in so many other ways, an example to us all. The poem that I was honoured to be asked to read, reflected this, by advising mourners to ‘do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on’.
Fob watchDuring the reception Frances presented me with a splendid fob watch, wrapped in a box she had made herself. This was his gift to me.
Louisa sunsetArriving home towards the setting sun, it seemed appropriate to watch this phenomenon in silent thoughts from the clifftop at Barton on Sea.