28th October 2015

fr_simonDear All

Thank you all so much for your cards and messages of condolence, they have been an amazing source of comfort and hope over these last few very difficult days. The funeral went as well as could be expected, we managed to get four BBC singers to support the liturgy, they were amazing and frankly not something Droylsden parish church experiences every day! My father’s flat has been cleared and handed back, his estate wound up and I have, with Ian’s help, just completed the probate and tax forms required by law, so it’s all over. I often say to grieving relatives ‘be conscious that after the funeral the grieving process begins in earnest’. The hinterland between death and funeral are filled with distracting activity, it’s only after the last person has left and said ‘Take care’ that you are left with the silence of absence. I think it can be best described as a huge void, an emptiness which takes time to heal. That said, since Thursday I have experienced the best nights sleep I have had all year, so the healing process has already begun. On reflection I have realised that my emotional life these past twelve months, has been dominated by a feeling of guilt; when in London at work I have felt guilty that I was not in Manchester caring for my father, when in Manchester I have felt guilty for not giving the parish my full attention. What is so annoying is that I have spent most of my ministry telling people that feelings of guilt are destructive and to be avoided at all cost, I think it is a case of physician heal thyself. At least now I have the time and opportunity to reflect on the goodness of God and to see how, in subtle ways, he has supported me through this difficult period. When we are in the middle of the mess and because we are so preoccupied it is difficult to look beyond ourselves, when the mess subsides the silence affords the opportunity to see how in many and varied ways God supports and cares for us. The footprints poem might seem a little naive and trite but the message is essentially true.

Simon