All funerals are sad, even if you’re a professional providing a service, the emotion felt by mourners means you quietly send feelings of care and support their way. Occasionally though, someone will be grieving so painfully you long to do something to lift the agony from their soul. A few weeks ago that was certainly true for Laura and I as a distraught mother was eventually eased away from the coffin of her four-month-old son and gently led outside the Chapel by the Celebrant and Funeral Director.
Clutching a teddy bear tightly and sobbing uncontrollably, she initially declined a dove but once she saw them held by her father and brother she changed her mind. Placing our very experienced Grace carefully into her hands, I watched the change come over her as her focus once again transferred to caring for something small, vulnerable … and alive. Her tears now spilled over silently and her breathing calmed as she cradled and with a final kiss, gently raised her hands and set Grace free. I saw her breath deepen as her head raised and her eyes, never wavering, fixed on the dove as she rose and circled. Now, as if mesmerised by every wing beat, she stood transfixed until eventually all three doves disappeared from sight.
Finally, with wet eyes still glistening, her attention returned to the rest of the gathered group. Breathing deeply and slowly, she was now peaceful and we knew that once again our doves had worked their magic. This young Mum’s final experience of her baby’s funeral had been transformed by a memory she would hold in her heart and treasure forever.