As a follow up to my previous post, it was Ray’s funeral yesterday.
I knew Ray through bowls, a sport we played together. Of course, with the age of most people that play bowls, funerals come around far more than you would want. Whilst it is a game that is played by all ages, the majority of players are over 50. However if you look closer you will see players as young as 6, and all ages in between. The majority of top players are in their twenties and thirties. I took it up when I was 19, and have been playing almost 30 years.
The bowl community is a friendly one, and so it was no surprise to see the room packed. There was a smaller side room that was also full, where they showed the service on a big screen. It was good to see the support shown for Ray, and I had the chance to meet up with my old mixed pairs partner who has moved, part-time, to Florida. Her husband grew up with Ray, and throughout their lives they played sport together – football, squash, darts, ten-pin bowling and bowls.
I had only realised on Thursday that it was a year ago I last went to a funeral, again a bowls friend, who had died peacefully in his armchair. There had been no warning of Roger’s death, quite a difference from the 3 year lead up to Ray’s. The service was performed by the same independent life celebrant, and she again did a marvellous job. It was quite remarkable that it was the same Friday in July last year.
I managed to just about hold myself together until I said goodbye to his wife. As we queued up to pay her respects I knew this was going to be my toughest time, and I was right. We hugged, and chatted for quite a while, and comforted each other, and promised to see each other soon.
I don’t think there’s any real message here, but I wanted to do a follow up. I think if you can pull anything out of this post is that you may be like Ray and fall ill, with a long slow decline. Or you may be like Roger, and pass suddenly. No-one really knows, so whilst you plan for the future, don’t forget that life is a journey. You may not reach where you think you were going to, but it’s important to make the most of and enjoy your journey too.