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The Circle of Life

March 5, 2012

Hope went to her first funeral today … an elderly cousin who she’d never met, but who lived the most marvellous life and achieved huge successes by any definition of the word. Work wise he reached the top of what he did, on a voluntary basis he transformed many lives through his own giving of experience and time, he was a brilliant sportsman and a wonderful family man. Yet another strong and gentle role model for her to follow in the footsteps of … alongside her own Grandfather, my father also sadly not with us any more but leaving behind him a tremendously large set of steps for us all to follow in..

Talking of Daddy, his brother was in Cambridge yesterday – for the first time since she was born. It was very emotional meeting him and it made me so happy to see little Hope sitting on the lap of her shy, bearded and very special great uncle – I think it made him happy too – and proud. Hope apparently didn’t howl as much as I had the first time he held me when I was a baby! My great Aunt was thrilled to be able to feed her with a tiny bottle of expressed milk and I was thrilled that a lady who plays in a string quartet with her (who I’ve never met) had incredibly kindly sent Hope 3 lovely hand knitted cardigans … people are so kind.

Hope takes centre stage when her Great Aunt and Uncle come to visit

She did however make quite a loud noise … she hd a tummy ache as her father had inadvertently fed her about a whole day’s supply of milk in one sitting during the previous night … this meant she was very unsettled and not at all herself all day. It manifested itself in loud and heartrending shouting and then finally while I was changing her nappy the most startling projectile poo (yes they really do exist and it flew – and i exaggerate not – about 6 feet across the room. After that she settled down – I’m still stunned!

Anyway – back to today, I was quite nervous that she’d be very disruptive during the funeral and she’d feel cold or unsettled. She didn’t … from the end of the third pew from the front came not a sound other than a few snores and a bit of slurping when I had to give her a ltitle tiny bit of expressed milk in a little bottle. Even during the very long silence to reflect on the life that had passed. Afterwards we all retired to the church hall and her Granby sat proudly by as Hope proved more of an attraction than even the tea and cakes, ‘yes she’s my grand-daughter’, ‘yes, that’s right she was in the paper’, ‘her middle names are after all Elizabeth’s friends’, ‘she is gorgeous isn’t she but she was a monster yesterday’ and so on. .

I just stood alongside and ate cake and cheese straws (alot of them) and pondered the day. Then Elisabeth, my cousin came over and instead of being very somber about loosing her father she said how wonderful it was that Hope had been born, and that her birth somehow balanced her father’s death, which touched me no end. Then her beautiful glamorous newly qualified lawyer daughtercame over and introduced Hope to a group of people and said, ‘This is my cousin Hope’ … that also made me very happy, I love how Hope fits into so many other people’s lives.

So… an odd bitter sweet kind of 48 hours putting her into the context of our family … oh and today was her 2 month birthday. A little different to her one month birthday when the guests at the snow party were Mr Garden Gnome and Mr Snowman, today she was the guest at someone else’s celebration of life but it did get me wondering about what is infront of her and thinking how exciting it is to be at the beginning of a life – as well as having the privilege of looking back over an amazing life lived to the full.

So … Happy 2nd Month birthday little Hope – I can’t believe how time is zipping by – and I still can’t quite belive she’s here!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. mary holleman permalink
    March 6, 2012 4:14 am

    Ellie, I am so sorry for your loss. No matter the circumstances or the certainty, the loss of a friend or relative is always difficult. But you brought the most wonderful salve for all in attandance, beautiful baby Hope. The future she represents, the irrepressible love and devotion of family, and the purity of an infant. There is no greater gift and no more appreciated attendee at a funeral. Your sharing of Hope was the perfect medicine for all. You are fortunate to share your loves, as are all who know you. I’ll be thinking of you and your family. m

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