2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Death · England · Funeral · God · Rural · Scotland · Spring · Tears · Vicarage

Ugly Cry

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I rarely answer the vicarage telephone as 99.9% of the phones calls are for the Mhinisteir. One day last week, the Mhinisteir had to be away and because it was his day off I decided to ignore the telephone. The answering machine gets turned off on his days off.

However, one caller in particular was very persistant that I had to get out of bed where I had been resting to check the caller id. The caller id revealed a mobile number. I was convinced that it was a church warden and decided to ignore because they should know by now that it was the Mhinisteir’s day off.

The caller rang again five minutes later and I picked up the phone. It wasn’t the church warden but an unfamiliar voice. The person introduced himself and knew my name. I didn’t recognise that name. My heart was racing because I thought that the Mhinisteir was in some kind of trouble. Thankfully, very quickly the person told me who his parents were and that he was ringing with some sad news. The penny dropped – Mr Bear had passed away. Baby Bear was very sad. I tried my best to comfort him before he rang off.

I am someone who is always on “screensaver” mode meaning I don’t display my emotions very easily. I didn’t know how sad I was until I went to have a shower that evening and ended up having an ugly cry. The first in many years! I was sad that I would not be able to go Mr Bear’s funeral. Mr & Mrs Bear lived on a small Scottish island. I was also sad when I thought of all the good times that we had.

By the time, I came out of the shower. I felt so much better and ended up having a good sleep.

The next day something similar happened. News came via the Mhinisteir of the death of another dear friend! 2 deaths in 2 days was just too much to bear. They were older friends. Being in their late 80s meant that they were nearly half my age but it is still sad when you lose people whom you hold dear. Thankfully, there were no more tears left for another ugly cry. The good news is I am hoping to go to the funeral of this friend. It will be hard but at least it will give me a proper closure.

2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Death · England · Faith · God · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Spring · Uncategorized · Vicarage

Fragile | Handle with Care

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Early morning phone calls to the vicarage rarely bring good news. This one that came a few weeks ago was no different; there was an unnatural death in one of the parishes. Out of respect for the deceased and their family, I will refrain from saying anymore.

However, I was irked by something I heard on my way out of church that Sunday. Those living in rural areas will know that even the tiniest piece of information spreads like wildfire so it would come as no surprise that by the time that Sunday came, almost all the parishes knew about it.

I wasn’t part of the conversation but this is how it went ” I don’t understand people these days. Life is tough. You just got to deal with it”!

I was incensed for a few reasons. This came out of the mouth of someone whom I am fond off. Someone who has known grief and pain. More importantly, this was immediately after the service when we should all have a broken spirit and a contrite heart.

I was greatly saddened and still am.

2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Death · England · Faith · God · Multi Parish Benefice · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Vicarage · Winter

A heavy heart…

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One of the things that I enjoy doing as a rural vicar’s wife is sending flowers to parishioners who are in need of cheering up especially during an illness or after suffering a bereavement.

I tend to do this on occasions when I find myself struggling to express myself in a card. It is amazing how flowers are able to express the emotions that I am struggling to put pen to paper.

I found myself in such a situation last week when I found out that a faithful parishioner who has become a very good friend to us both had received a devastating medical diagnosis.

It took a good few days for the news to sink in.

After that, I went to my trusted online florist, Scilly flowers to send a small bouquet to said parishioner. As I was going through the ordering process, I was prompted by a question asking if I wanted to save this individual’s address in my address book. Normally without even giving it a second thought, I would click ‘yes’ but on this occasion I was overcome with great sadness because I knew that this was going to be the first and last bouquet that I will be sending to this individual on this side of heaven.

2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Death · England · Funeral · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Private Eye · Rural · Vicarage · Winter

Professional Mourner & Ciabatta

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In the latest Private Eye under Eye Classifieds, someone has advertised their services as a professional mourner. I had to read it twice! I think I know what a professional mourner does even though I have not met one before but is there a need for such a person?

I have often heard from the Mhinisteir as to how some bereaved families prefer not to turn up at the funeral service in Church or at the crematorium. The reasons given are usually family feud or simply too busy to turn up!

To hire a professional mourner appears to be just taking it a step too far but maybe there is a perfectly simple reason as to why there is a need to hire one!

In the same Private Eye, under Dumb Britain, I spotted the following:-

Tipping Point, ITV

Ben Shephard: Ciabatta bread originated in which European country?

Contestant: India

不不不不不不不不不不不不不不

Private Eye No 1564, page 18

2021 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Coronavirus · Death · England · Face Masks · Rural · Vicarage · Winter

31 December 2021

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We have finally come to the end of another year. I never know what to expect when the new year begins. I know that some will say that 2021 has been the same as 2020. I beg to differ.

Yes, Coronavirus is still with us. However with vaccines, rightly or wrongly we have become bolder. Once again, we have begun to focus more on ourselves than others; offers to provide our elderly neighbours with help dwindled and is now non existent. Going on holidays has become a birth right!

Below are some of my own highs and lows of 2021:-

2 x lady babies who were born this year into the family.

2 x weddings in the family.

The Mhinisteir was made an honorary canon of the cathedral.

2 x funerals in the family including that of my grandmother’s who passed away due to Covid19.

My father landed in hospital and was not allowed any visitors due to Covid-19.

Happy Hogmanay!

2021 · Anglican · Autumn · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Death · England · Faith · Funeral · God · Observations · Rural · Vicarage

Shock

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“So is the body in the morgue?” I quizzed the Mhinisteir. I added that I wished to attend the funeral service. The Mhinisteir looking confused asked me whose funeral I was referring to. “P’s of course.” I said. “The funeral is over.” he said. I was too shocked to reply.

According to the Mhinisteir, the funeral was over a good few weeks ago. I was of course wondering why he hadn’t told me about it. He said he too didn’t know about it as it was a direct cremation. As I am not familiar with the term “direct cremation”, I thought it was the name of the funeral directors!

He went on to explain that P had opted for direct cremation which means that nobody would have been present at the crematorium and that there was no service. I was so shocked that I struggled to get the right words out of my mouth.

The Mhinisteir went on to explain that people are increasingly opting for direct cremations. One reason is the cost but the more popular reason is that they don’t want sad farewells!

I am beginning to wonder if in this modern world, we are trying to remove the “sting of death”. Funerals help us in the grieving process. If we don’t grief properly, then it might come back to bite us!

2021 · Anglican · Autumn · Blogging · Church of England · Church Warden · Clergy Wife · Death · England · Faith · Funeral · God · Multi Parish Benefice · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Vicarage

Slippery Stonemason

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The Mhinisteir works mostly from home but he is also out and about conducting services, meetings, house visits among many other things. However unless he is away from his parishes, he always has lunch with me. In the Vicarage, meal times are sacred! We are firmly of the view that what you put in your body is very important and that having proper meals helps one to be effective and productive. Oh by the way, I am solely in charge of these said meals!

We tend to exchange news during meal times as it is usually the only times during the day that I see the Mhinisteir; he is usually holed up in his study busy working or in zoom meetings so I avoid his study or should I say avoid him!

A few weeks ago during lunch, he told me that his morning was totally wasted. When I enquired further, I realised that a stone mason had sneakily put in a headstone in one of the churchyards without permission! In the Church of England, there is a proper procedure in place for stonemasons to adhere to before they erect a headstone on behalf of the deceased family. The first step is for the stonemason to put in an application with all the necessary information like the type of stone, the colour of the stone, the inscription etc. Application will be rejected if the stone is not the approved colour or type etc; the inscription is equally important. You may think that all this a bit over the top but it is not so because as it is the Church yard, it must meet with the religious requirements.

Unfortunately, the stonemason had not done any of this and started telling porkies. He was proving too powerful for both the church administrator and the church warden and so the Mhinisteir had to get involved together with the Diocesan solicitors! I am sure it was the last resort as involving the diocesan solicitors meant more work for the Mhinisteir!

Sadly, it is not just the stonemasons who are slippery, funeral directors are just as bad. They seem to prey on bereaved families when these families are at their lowest.

2021 · Anglican · Autumn · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Death · England · Faith · God · Multi Parish Benefice · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Vicarage

Unusual Request

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After his second morning service on Sunday, a young girl came up to the Mhinisteir at the door and said that she wanted to have a word with him. This took the Mhinisteir by surprise as young girls are usually shy and tend to hide behind their parents!

Anyway, the Mhinisteir took the girl to a side, in full view of her parents of course and enquired as to how he might be able to assist her. The young girl started telling him about her friend’s father who had passed away very suddenly and that this friend and her family were struggling with grief and if the Mhinisteir could “send a prayer”. According to the Mhinisteir, he was a little confused as to what she meant by “send a prayer”; he had initially thought that she wanted him to write to her friend but thankfully he quickly realised that she wanted him to pray for her friend and family!

How sweet and thoughtful of this young girl to be moved by her friend’s plight and to ask for prayer!

ps: The Mhinisteir has just come into my study to inform me that a much loved cousin has suddenly passed away of a heart attack. As I type this, I am full of sorrow and so I can only repeat the words of Job from the Bible “the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord”.

2021 · Anglican · Autumn · Blogging · Book of Common Prayer · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Death · England · Faith · God · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Sabbath Day · Vicarage

Sad Sunday

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On Sunday at evensong, I was overcome with grief. I became acutely aware that one of our regular parishioners was missing; he had passed away at the weekend. I saw him last week at evensong.

However, my grief very quickly turned to awe as I heard the following words from the BCP being read out..

Beloved, we are come together in the presence of almighty God and of the whole company of heaven to offer unto him through our Lord Jesus Christ….

I was suddenly reminded that this person will never be with us at evensong ever again BUT he is now part of the company of heaven!!! What a comforting thought!!!!

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

2021 · Anglican · Autumn · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Death · England · Faith · God · Rural · Vicarage

Last Rites

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There was a tragic incident on Friday which ended in the murder of a Tory MP. We have since learnt that a Catholic priest who tried to give the last rites to the MP who himself was a Catholic was denied access. It has of course created unhappiness among some people and rightly so.

I am not a Catholic and with my protestant upbringing, I am not too familiar with last rites however I know that to a Catholic and to some Anglicans the last rites are VERY important. It will be very easy to blame the police officer who together with his colleague made the decision to deny access to the Catholic priest but did they really know the meaning of last rites? With the UK becoming more and more secular, I am beginning to wonder whether the police are even aware of our Christian heritage. If they don’t, then they need to start learning fast before they make another mistake such as this.