I never dreamed that a thanksgiving service could do Kerry justice.
But then I ought to have known that with Kerry being the very best of people, she surrounded herself with the best, and came from the best stock.
That was so evident today.
Being an Irish Roman Catholic, being in church is not new to me, but being in a church, such as I was today, WAS new to me.
I have quite frankly never known anything like it.
The ceremony opened with us listening to this: A Little Fall of Rain.
That was the beginning of many a tear being shed.
Then the priest spoke. I have met many a priest, but none as humble, as eloquent, as heartfelt as THIS one. He had met Kerry several times, and it showed. He had baptised the twins. He had led Kerry in her belated "Confirmation" course which she was half way through when she fell ill (I couldn't help but reflect on the fact that I have also never been confirmed). He said that during the sessions on the course, where she was surrounded in young people, he let her take the lead, as she explained things like "faith" way better than he could. I have never met such a humble priest. All of the people she would have been confirmed with have signed a bible, which will now be treasured by the family.
We later sung "lord of the dance" which I have always thought of as an upbeat hymn but when you try to sing it, there is a certain paragraph that chokes you in tears.
Then her Dad spoke, and really brought her memory alive with his tales. Again, humbling in the extreme, how heartfelt and eloquent he was. He was so so strong and she would be proud to have seen how he spoke and what he said. What really is beautiful is that his faith is still intact and he waits to get an explanation for his loss. This was the first time we heard that Kerry did not like walking, even having to be tempted to walk as a baby by following a trail of chocolate buttons (the beginning of a life spent loving chocolate cold and hot). Nick her husband also alluded to her aversion for walking by saying their family walks had to be short :-)
Nick was next to speak, and took us on a journey of emotions, where we got such a treasured insight into their life. Nobody could quite believe how he managed to honour her, yet be jovial too. I don't think there's an emotion that exists that he did not touch upon, such was the extent of the reach of his speech. He made a lot of people proud today. He explained how Sandra her Mum did a vigil every day by her bedside for 5 long months. Back in happier times they spoke every day on the phone for hours. I could see her from where I was sitting, and she enjoyed hearing tales of their love for one another.
We thought we couldn't possibly feel any more pain, and then we were played Have I Told You Lately by Rod Stewart (their first dance song from their wedding).
One of the lines is "you take away all my sadness" and Nick in his speech got choked, when he said she is not here to do that for him today. But Nick, Kerry will ALWAYS be by your side now, as a Guardian Angel.
Amy read 1 Corinthians 13 which was truly beautiful, and like the priest, and Kerry's Dad and Nick, she was so poised and together; eloquently and beautifully spoken.
I didn't think we could possibly feel any more emotions, and then Kerry's beautiful Sister read this poem which I had never heard of before, but I think you will agree is so very apt for Kerry:
A Poem by Rev. Arnold Crompton
When I have moved beyond you in the adventure of life,
Gather in some pleasant place
And there remember me with spoken words,
old and new. Let a tear fall if you will,
but let a smile come quickly
For I have loved the laughter of life.
Do not linger too long with your solemnities,
Go eat, and drink, and talk
And when you can -
Follow a woodland trailClimb a high mountain
Sleep beneath the starsSwim in a cold river
Chew the thoughts of some book that challenges your soul
Use your hands some bright day
to make a thing of beauty.
Or to lift someone’s heavy load.
Though you mention not my name,
Though no thought of me crosses your mind-
I shall be with you
For these have been the realities of life to me.
And when you face some crisis with anguish -
When you walk alone with courage
When you choose your paths of right
When you give yourself in love
I shall be very close to you.
I have followed the valleys,
I have climbed the heights of life.
Being that all of the Christmas decorations are still up, and Kerry loved Christmas we then all sang Silent Night. Nick did not need to do Christmas Stockings for his 3 children as Kerry had them organised by June 2012. Apparently she starts organising Christmas Day on Boxing Day - she continues to amaze me!
Before we left the Church, we remained in our seats to listen to this: The Calling - Wherever You Will Go.
The family remained outside the Church so that we could offer our condolences. We also joined them at the Greyhound pub for a drink.
I was so very glad that 7 of us made it to the ceremony. We all held each other up.
Annie, Mammasaurus drove from far away with Helen Actually Mummy, Helen Crazy Kitchen, and Emma Science Sparks. I travelled by train from London. Mary from KeynKo who met me and deposited me back to Wivenhoe station (I could not have managed without her) and Lucy from Dear Beautiful both travelled from nearby. It was so precious to be there as a group and represent Kerry's online life which was such a big part of her world.
AND THAT BIG part of her world did her justice on Twitter where #KerryInOurHearts was still trending hours after the ceremony, which was such a pleasure for us to come out and join in on. Kerry's on and offline families REALLY came together and it was just as she would have wanted it.
Just in case any of you think you were any less important by not being there, that is so so not the case. Nick (Kerry's husband) was proudly announcing at the pub that Kerry was trending again (like on 24th November) - it was and is important to him and the family take great comfort from knowing how very loved Kerry is and was.
Several people took screen grabs of the fact that Kerry was trending. It was heart warming to see lots of tweets from @TheBoyandMe who was a great online friend of Kerry's and a fellow TEACHER.
Today it dawned on me that there are a lot of FOURS.
#Healing4Kerry trended for 2.75 hours on 24th November 2012 (and also note the 4 in the hashtag).
Kerry sadly passed on 14th December.
AND today, her funeral, burial, and thanksgiving service were on the 4th of January.
I mentioned this to her Sister in Law Louise at the pub today and wondered if she was born on the 4th, but no she was born on the 16th but then Louise quite rightly pointed out that she was born in APRIL which sees the 4 again.
It goes on.... In numerology you add up ALL of the numbers in your birth to get your destiny number.
If you add up Kerry's birth date:
16 04 1982.
As in 1+6+0+4+1+9+8+2
You get 31
which you reduce by adding 3+1 to get FOUR.
One of the negative traits of a number FOUR is being clumsy and I lost count of how many times that trait was mentioned in tributes today - like Kerry everyone had their sense of humour intact.
I will let you read this and you can see for yourself how much of it applies to Kerry: number FOUR numerology
The above link includes the following sentence for FOURS:
Your purpose is to inspire others to fulfil their fullest potential.
So the biggest thing we could do for Kerry is to fulfil our potential and to continue to be inspired by her.
I can already see her having this effect on lots of bloggers, with posts like this one by cafe bebe.
Being that the number FOUR is so significant, I suggest that when we come together as a community for a real life celebration of her life, we do it in April. A few of us discussed it today and said it would be lovely to do something with all of our children and Kerry's. It will hopefully coincide with the Easter school holidays.
I think I have rambled on enough, and it is now 01:34 a.m.
Please leave me a comment - I hope that for those of you who could not be with us today, that this post gives you an insight into the day and the service.
Nick has already said that he will put an edited version of his speech on Kerry's blog which I know you will all enjoy.
Something very moving that I heard today was that Freya who Kerry was SO very proud to write/blog for, sent her underwear and PJs several times, during her 5 long months in hospital.
Kerry now rests in peace, in their underwear and PJs, as the family recognise that she loved time in her PJs. How beautiful is that.
Simply everything about today was beautiful.
It all did Kerry justice, in a way that before today, I did not think was possible.
I have never in my life been as humbled as I was today.
Kerry will live on in all of our hearts and in her children.
She also has a Just Giving page if you would like to donate.
I will leave you with some photos that I took today on my phone that I have loaded up to G+ here.