Greetings fellow traveller,
It is Monday morning; I am sitting at a table in the Muffin Break Café in Auckland Hospital. I am waiting for my daughter, who has an appointment. While having a cup of coffee (not the best coffee I have had) I look around the café, I imagine people are here for various reasons, and there is the hospital staff some dressed in their uniforms, while others are patients and then the visitors along with the café staff. It is a surreal place, some people are talking, with heads close together and that pensive look, others with huge mounds of food before them, then there are those sitting with that far away look in their eyes, just staring into space. Hospital café’s are strange places; people coming and going, each person carrying within them, their own thoughts and concerns. Perhaps it’s my imagination, but there seems to be a different energy in a hospital café to others cafes. It’s like there is a communal pain and loss that cannot be covered over, it is very near the surface. Grief is present.
The presence and expression of grief comes in many different ways and forms, and is a valid part of our humanity. From my experience, the Church has never been very good at being a container for the expression and holding of grief. Yet our gospel was born within grief and Jesus teaches by example that he too wept in grief at the death of a friend.
Here at St Aidans today we farewell Ian and Judith McIntyre, each of us, will hold our own thoughts and memories of Ian and Judith’s life and presence among us. They have individually and together touched many of you deeply with their life and love. Our grief is felt and yet we embrace them deeply with our love and wish them well on the next step on their journey of life. Ian and Judith our love, prayers and peace go with you and your family.