This has been a year of firsts. We’ve ploughed our way through them all. All those celebrations that you take for granted but which become so much more poignant when someone is missing. Our first Christmas without him. Our first New Year. The first birthdays the kids celebrated without their Dad. Valentines Day. Easter Day. The anniversary of his own birthday. My Birthday. Speech day without him as Toby finished school. The graduation of our eldest India, without him. Joshy’s first Edinburgh Fringe without him. Our first summer holiday without him. Tony’s A’level results. Sam’s GCSE results. The anniversary of the date he went into the hospice. Our Wedding Anniversary (27 this year). The anniversary of his death. And here we are again. New Year’s Day. 2020. The circle of life continues.
I had been wondering how we would honour Rich’s memory and mark the anniversary of his death. It was a biggy but I think we did him justice.
We took some of his ashes to a loch near where we were staying in Scotland. We gathered with my parents, my brother and his kids and my sister and we all threw pebbles into the loch and watched the ripples spread their rings. We drank a bottle of Champagne and remembered the big old bear.
Then Family G walked along the jetty and scattered some of his ashes into the loch and watched them dissolve gently away into the calm, still water.
It was a fitting tribute. We were all together, we held eachother tight. We laughed, we cried and we remembered. And then my Dad wrote this sonnet.
“How Richard’s Soul lives on”
No tremor touched the surface of Loch Tay
As we all gathered at the water’s brink;
We felt we had so much to share and say
But hugged each other hard so we could think.
We’d thrown our pebbles in which spread their rings
In ever-dying circles to the shore,
And thought of all the many moving things
Which held us all together, more and more.
We knew his spirit never now would leave us
But live on, telling us each passing day
To live life fully, make it glorious,
And full of sunshine to dispel skies grey!
His ashes now have have floated far away
But in our hearts we know he’s here to stay.
Written by PJB LeBrocq 22.12.19
He’s here to stay most definitely and signs of him appear to us daily, to remind us of that fact. For example yesterday in the music that started to play in a French bar when the family was gathered for New Year’s Eve – it was, rather reassuringly, from Rich’s favourite musical:
Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba Sithi uhm ingonyama.
We played it at his Thanksgiving Service in February, the service attended by over 700 people, it was, The Circle of Life……