The Ship: A Eulogy

Tall Ship
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My mother-in-law (Jean Mary Ramadhar) sadly passed away on August 15th 2104. It wasn’t entirely unexpected since her health had been gradually deteriorating as a result of a fall two years ago, where she broke her hip. This seemed to exacerbate long-running degenerative problems with her heart, and her final weeks were spent in and out of hospital and long periods where my wife would go and look after her. I had a great relationship with my mother-in-law and miss her terribly, as of course does my wife and two children, Matthew and Rebecca – Jean’s grandchildren. Mum (Jean) was one of the most generous people I’ve known, and despite her diminishing quality of life,  she was always laughing and joking and was the very soul of any gathering of friends and family. Her stoicism in the face of what must have been almost continual pain and the disruption of routine caused by the many hospital visits is something I’ll always remember (especially at the onset of the next bout of man-flu!)

I read the Eulogy at the funeral (stumbling over my words once when the emotions got to me), and asked my son if he would choose something to read at the crematorium. He chose the following, which I believe is attributed to Bishop Brent. I thought it was perfect for the occasion, not least because the words are fairly secular, which was something we had to bear in mind given the mix of religions (or non-religions) represented at the funeral. Whether you’re a Christian or not (I am), and whether or not you believe there is something or some place after death, I think the words impart a sense of hope that when life is ended, something else is just beginning. Since none of us are sure exactly what this will be, let’s just call it “hope”.

The Ship

I am standing upon that foreshore, a ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, “there! she’s gone!

Gone where?

Gone from my sight, that’s all“, she is just as large in mast and spar and hull as ever she was when she left my side; just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of her destination.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at that moment when someone at my side says, “there! she’s gone!” there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout….

here she comes!

Tall Ship

About Post Author

Stephen Dale

I’m a life-long learner with an insatiable curiosity about life. I love travel, good food, and good company. I’m happy to share what I know with others….even the interesting stuff! My outlook on life is pretty well captured in this quote from a book about the legend of King Arthur: “The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King So much to learn, so little time!
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