Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Two funerals and no weddings

I was once told that you know when you are getting old when you start to go to more funerals than you do weddings or christenings. If this is true, then I must be getting old.

This week I am attending two funerals, one today and one on Thursday. The first is the funeral of the 'father' (i.e. the oldest) member of my London Lodge, John Birch. He was a true gentleman, and an example to all of us as to how we should conduct ourselves in the Lodge and in life in general. He will be sorely missed.

The second is the funeral of someone I never actually met, although we had communicated by post. Frank McCarthy was the senior Companion of the Royal Arch Chapter of which I am a member and Almoner, and he died last week. He had been too frail to attend Chapter meetings over recent years, but as Almoner I had kept in touch with him to find out if he needed any help of support. He had no family, and I – and quite a few other Freemasons – will be attending his funeral to show both our respects for the man and to show that even if he didn't have any close relatives, he had people who cared for and about him.

16 comments:

  1. My condolences at the loss of your friends Bob. I've been to my fair share of funerals this last year, something I'm not too keen to repeat for some time.

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  2. Ray Rousell,

    Thanks. I don't enjoy going to funerals, but I think that it is very important to remember those who have died and to celebrate their lives.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. I'm sorry for the losses Bob. Something that will no doubt be more frequent in our futures. It is nice to think that someone notices, cares and remembers.

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  4. Ross Mac,

    Death is a fact of life ... and coming to terms with that is not always easy.

    Today's funeral was well attended, and we were able to give the deceased a great send-off. It was also a time to discover things that I did not know about him, namely that for some time he had supported a charity that was concerned with promoting good heath for women and the prevention of HIV in an area of India. A collection was held after the funeral, and from what I saw it will benefit quite substantially as a result.

    In Freemasonry we have a saying that a man should 'live respected and die regretted'; I think that this particular Brother managed to achieve that.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Yes, it is a sign of aging. This year I have Said goodbye to 7 reenactor friends, and as yet attended no weddings.
    It helps to remember how they have enhanced our own lives.

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  6. Whiskers,

    Very true ... and looking at our lives and asking the question 'How much did I do to enhance other people's lives?' is a good starting point for us all to work from.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. I find that you know you are getting old when you start reading the obituaries for people you know. BUT you are really old when you start reading them looking for your own! I am in that later category.

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  8. Dick Bryant,

    How very true! I have also taken to reading them just in case my own is there and nobody has bothered to tell me that I am dead!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. This is becoming my experience also--my 89-year-old aunt died last February, about 5 minutes before I got to the hospice to say goodbye (having just flown from Washington DC to Milwaukee WI). And two weeks ago my boss died of cancer--he was younger than me by a couple of years, but had been advised by his physicians he still had some time left. They were wrong.

    And as the book says, "...it tolls for thee."

    Best regards,

    Chris

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  10. Bob,

    You wrote: "Very true ... and looking at our lives and asking the question 'How much did I do to enhance other people's lives?' is a good starting point for us all to work from."

    I'm sure many of your pupils will be grateful for your teaching; Wargame Developments for all you have done for them, and - not least, perhaps - I and many others who derive much entertainment and inspiration from your wargame rules and this blog.

    Best wishes,
    Arthur

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  11. Hm - Sadly we reach an age when the majority of people- friends and family are at an elderly age and there always seems to be a never ending trail of bad- news when we here of someone we know passing on....of my own Family - all have passed on, including my Mother, Father and Brother - all my Uncles and Aunts also have passed- fortunately I have some Cousins afar interstate....School Mates also have passed away- and when we here of School mates that have contracted MS, MND, Cancer, or have surcumed to Drugs - etc ...it can be very depressing...I guess where at an age when we do not know what is in store for us...waking early in the morning to a new day- we must give thanks. KEV.

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  12. Chris,

    There is a line in some Masonic ritual that I am currently trying to learn that states 'for the time will come, and the wisest of us knows not how soon, when all distinctions save those of goodness and virtue shall cease, and death, the grand leveller of all human greatness, will reduce us to the same state.'

    I have been thinking about that line a lot recently, even more so since I got the news last night that someone else who I knew died of a heart attack at the age of 51.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  13. Arthur1815 (Arthur),

    It is very, very kind of you to write those things about me.

    I have always just tried to do my best, and have seen my role as being the oil that lubricated the machinery of life for others. I've not always been outstandingly successful ... but I have tried.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  14. Kev,

    There was a time in my life when I suffered very badly from depression, and the thought of death never seemed to leave me … and then I was forced to confront my fears, and realised that I was allowing fear of the inevitable to blight the life I was living. As my father said to me at the time ‘if all you think about is your own death, it isn’t much of a life that you are living; accept the inevitable and make your life count, both for yourself and those around you.’

    Wise words indeed … and ones that I try to keep in mind whenever concerns about my mortality intrude.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  15. Sad news Bob, my condolences to the families.

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  16. Mike Saunders,

    Thanks for your kind comment; I will pass your condolences on.

    We gave both Brothers as good a farewell as we could, including - at his own request - placing a sprig of acacia on Frank McCarthy's coffin.

    All the best,

    Bob

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