I was very privileged to be included in the Oxford Crematorium Family Remembrance Day service. The ceremony has been a tradition for many years, bringing together those whose loved ones have died.
It was a glorious afternoon, the sun shining down on the immaculate crematorium gardens with its pond and beautiful standard roses. Visitors gathered on the lawns and under the shades of the trees, to take part in a ceremony led by the Reverends Richard Budgen and Hedley Feast. The Wantage Male Voice Choir and the Oxford Citadel Army Band provided musical accompaniment. John MacPhail, another celebrant, and I were invited to give readings.
I said a few words about memories, about how we should look back and remember with smiles and laughter as well as with tears, and read this poem (which I often use in ceremonies, because I feel it is so apt):
Feel no guilt in laughter, they’d know how much you care.
Feel no sorrow in a smile that they are not here to share.
You cannot grieve forever; they would not want you to.
They’d hope that you could carry on the way you always do.
So, talk about the good times and the way you showed you cared,
The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared.
Let memories surround you. A word someone may say
Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day,
That brings them back as clearly as though they were still here,
And fills you with the feeling that they are always near.
For if you keep those moments, you will never be apart
And they will live forever locked safely within your heart.
As always, there were cups of tea afterwards and, for those who were interested, a look at the crematory itself (immaculate, and carefully managed by Bill). The staff at Oxford Crematorium – Tricia, Trina, June and Chris are all wonderfully caring and supportive and were on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly, as they always do. Donations from the day’s events will be forwarded to the British Heart Foundation.
Contrary to what you might think, this wasn’t a sad day. I had a lovely time and hope they ask me back next year!