Mum had left everything in such neat order, but like me was something of a horder with old newspapers declaring the Second World War over and lots on our Queen's coronation, in addition to papers on various other national issues. My sister has done the baulk of the clearing and until very recently her husband Alan had maintained the garden.
Biddy and I shared a short thankful prayer just before we left. I thanked God for the privilege of consistent, loving parents. For the ongoing sense of 'home' which I, Biddy, Sarah and Hannah always felt when we were there. How often mum would leave whatever she was doing when we arrived, just to sit and spend time with us. "I can do that later...I want to make the most of being with you", was such a lovely thing to say and mean!
For many years going right back to my childhood, my parents had a plaque on the wall stating,
Christ is the head of this house
The unseen guest at every meal
The silent listener to every conversation
It was perhaps somewhat quaint, but in many ways I think the reality of it contributed hugely to the atmosphere that mum and dad created. Whilst they have gone and now their home is gone, the ongoing presence of Christ and the richness of His resurrection, and the hope which that brings, fills me with anticipation of that welcome which God has in store for those who-like mum and dad- have put their trust in Christ.