Gorgeous Grandson turned one at the weekend, and Youngest Daughter sensibly decided that, rather than have a party for a little one who wouldn’t appreciate it, she would have a Grandparent Cluck party instead.
Accordingly Hub and I, and GG’s other grandparents, arrived for lunch on Saturday and spent a happy afternoon admiring all his latest exploits, concluding that he is a GENIUS (of course – see who his grandparents are??) and being rewarded by watching him take his first independent steps. A lovely time and we do like the in-laws!
From there, the 30 miles to the churchyard where my parents’ ashes are buried. It is almost a year since Dad died and I haven’t seen the gravestone since his name and other details were added.
I was a bit apprehensive, but as I walked into the churchyard the sun came out. It is beautifully-kept and full of spring flowers. Very warm in the sunshine, the birds all singing their spring song. I walked up the path and there was a blackbird standing on a post – so still, I wondered for a minute if he was carved, until he turned his head to look at me – almost as if he was saying ‘welcome to my territory!’ He didn’t move.
I discovered some friends had kindly planted a line of crocus bulbs along the edge of the stone. I had brought a heavy pot with some dwarf hyacinths in it, and set it at the head.
It was so peaceful, and as I stood there, tears blurring my eyes and mixing with the thankfulness in my heart, a man came round the end of the church and greeted me. ‘I’ve done the gardening as far as the tap’, he told me. ‘I’ll come back another day and do the rest.’
A gardener! – my mind flew to that famous resurrection appearance of Jesus to Mary in the garden of the tomb, when she thought he was the gardener. It was a very special and completely unexpected moment.
As I walked back down the path, taking pictures of the flowers and trying to capture the sunny peace of the place, two brilliant yellow brimstone butterflies suddenly appeared and darted among the flowers. I’ve never seen those before.
To cap this list of blessings, the gardener ‘happened’ to have his file in his car with the history of the church in it. As I left the churchyard he held out a cutting to me. It was of my father, who was vicar there when the church tower was struck by lightning, and consequently had the job of getting it fixed.
‘You can keep it’, he said.
Come to think of it, the real Jesus wasn’t in the grave.
And neither are my parents.