‘Evening will come, however determined the late afternoon’
…so begins the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage ’s tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second…
These few words reflect the certainty that we are ever moving forward, not able to cling to the past, nor to hold on to the present moment, there is only the future, and what is to come, will indeed come.
We knew for some time that Her Majesty was ill and was declining in health and knew in our heart of hearts that she would probably not have long for this world. Indeed, since the death of her beloved husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, the duties of state seemed to have weighed very heavily on her well-being. So though being immensely sad, we were not perhaps totally surprised at her passing.
Sudden unexpected deaths leave us confused and bewildered, but even those deaths that are nearing inevitability still leave us feeling deeply and profoundly bereft. Nothing can really prepare us for living in a world without the one we loved, the one we cared for and about, the one we respected and admired and them being no longer a part of our lives.
‘Grief is the price we pay for love’ said Her Majesty, ‘Grief is not a disorder, a disease, or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical, and spiritual necessity; the price we pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.’
When I am beside those coming to the end of their life, they will so very often say to me ‘I don’t want them (my family) to be sad, I don’t want them to grieve…’ But grief isn’t about those who have died, it is about us the living and how we cope without that person present in our lives. We, the living, have a right and a need to grieve – Jesus showed this at the death of his friend Lazarus (John 11:35) and we can take comfort in knowing the grief of death that is in the heart of our God.
We will all have memories of Her Majesty over many years – some will have had the privilege of meeting her in person, some being at an event in which she was in attendance, we will all have seen her and have memories of seeing her on television and read about her in books and newspapers, these recollections of own can only scratch at the surface in recalling the spirit in which Her Majesty lived her life… let us take a few moments of silence as we remember in thanksgiving and gratitude for Her Majesty Queen Elizabth the Second…
God of mercy and all consolation, come close to those who mourn. Comfort them in assurance of love that never dies; bless them in happy memories of the past; give them strength in all that is to come, with trust in the Resurrection that gives them union now and forever with those they have loved, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Revd Jane Parry