This story took place about 13 years ago. The mother of our then music director, Jean Hicks, had passed away. I decided that I would bake a banana loaf and drop it off to Jean and her family.
When I went to deliver it, I rang the bell there was no answer – I rang it again still no answer. There wasn’t a place where I thought I could safely leave it so I decided not to. I went back to the church with my banana loaf.
When I walked in I was surprised to find June Holohan in the kitchen she just happened to be there dropping something off. I told her about my failed attempt to deliver the banana loaf. June is a wise and thoughtful woman and she didn’t hesitate: “well,” she said: “if you can’t give it to Jean, what about taking it over to Sheilagh Rose?”
Shelagh had lost her husband Dave suddenly, when he collapsed on their kitchen floor and died of a massive heart attack, he was only about 52 years old. Shelagh was a member of our congregation but I didn’t really know her very well. Anyway, I took my loaf and headed to Shelagh’s which is just over here. I range the bell and Shelagh answered. She invited me in and we had a cup of tea and a nice chat.
It turned out that without my knowing it, this particular day was 1 month to the day since Dave’s death. Shelagh shared with me that, she had been praying, asking for a sign to let her know that he was alright. What I haven’t mentioned is that with the loaf I had attached a poem.
When Shelagh read the words in the poem she was moved to tears as was I. I won’t read the whole poem, but here’s some of what it said:
Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other that we are still.
Speak to me in the easy way you always used.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval, somewhere very near
just around the corner, in the next room,
All is well.