As mentioned yesterday evening, life can seem all too short in the end, like water pouring through our hands, the more that we try to hold onto it the more it slips through our fingers. That thought certainly comes to mind today. We know that the way our life runs there will be that end. We know there will be an illness that will carry us away. We know that we will grow old under the burden of years, there is nothing more certain. But today in this church and especially in this season we are able to speak about a new life, a new hope, a new reality that comes through Easter. This new reality gives us hope, strengthens us and gives us consolation. It comes through Easter day and what we celebrate in this church.
Sadly the end of Barbara Anne’s life came just a short time ago. She was no stranger to illness but was very courageous in the midst of it all. She quietly went about her life: living in the moment, living in the day. She was very well looked after by family and friends throughout who brought her much consolation and in the end also by the staff at the Hospice. She lived her life very quietly and that was the way that she dealt with everything, serenely and without fuss, simply.
Barbara Anne’s funeral mass takes place at Easter, it is a time of great joy. If there is any consolation for her husband Billy and family, then this is one of them- the joy of Easter is her joy too. She is returning home to the Father, there she will be welcomed to his home sat down not as a stranger but as a beloved daughter and looking round she will recognise many faces that she has loved in life and who have loved her, she will not be among strangers but among her own.
For those of you who have the nice booklet you will see Barbara Anne the way she was and later in life – you will see her as she was on the day of her marriage, she was a bonny girl and Billy wasn’t bad himself! She grew up in the East end of the city, in the Calton area – Abercromby St, the Gallowgate was her neighbourhood and she lived in a thriving community where everyone knew each other. Later in life she was to live here, at Halfway and at the flats near to our own church. She met her future husband Billy in early times in their life and they shared a love of ice skating, think they were the Torville & Dean of their day or at least of the east end. They both married and didn’t know it but were to be blessed by a very long, happy and contented marriage together – everything they hoped for from that day when they were pictured on the day of their marriage was realised, more than realised. They were soul mates and soul friends and ever 2 people were made to fit together that was them, both were very quiet and had very quiet ways. They fitted together hand in glove.
Barbara Anne had interests in cross stitching . She also worked very hard in the care of the elderly at Greenlees Home, we can well imagine her to have been good at her job, caring, patient and conscientious of the elderly and vulnerable.
The number of people that I have spoken about her to others have high praise of her. She was kind and was quiet in her ways. She was delighted to have family and grandchildren and these made her life complete and whole. If it was a grace to be married it was a grace to be a mother and grandmother – graces which she relished.
I always think it is a special grace to die at Easter or to have the funeral at Easter. It's as if it is an anticipation of things to come. Today at Barbara Anne’s funeral we pray in thanksgiving for her life. But our eyes are wide-opened to the joy that we are called at the end of our life and which she was called to as well. The joy and happiness of an eternal Easter.