Sometimes nearly all different aspects of life come together in one day, don't they? This was the case for me yesterday.
Work was the first task of the day, and it was pleasant working from home after I'd been at the office for four full days, with many meetings and lots to do in two very different projects I am working for these days.
Late morning, I went to the post office to get a birthday parcel for my mother-in-law Mary on its way to Yorkshire. In 2012, I posted about putting together a birthday gift for her, too; you can read that post here.
Not having posted about similar parcels in 2013, 2014 and 2015 does not mean I forgot Mary's birthday - it just means I didn't mention it on here. (Contrary to popular belief, I do NOT blog about each and every little detail of my life.)
This year, I have tried once again to include her favourite colours, and decided on this spring-like top I found in one shop, and the jewellery in another. The glass "stones" are called "cat eye", according to the labels, and I hope Mary will like them.
(Yes, the wrapping paper is the same I used in 2012, and I still have plenty left - it's rare that I use this type of paper for gift-wrapping.)
After my quick nip into town I had another hour or so at my desk before I left the house again, this time to attend a requiem for a friend's father who had died on the 1st of March. I have known my friend Inge for 38 years, ever since we started "big school" together in 1978.
In November 2014, her mother died. I attended the funeral and shall never forget the look of utter bewilderment and helpless grief on her father's face. That old man (he was in his 80s) sitting by the open grave, tears streaming down his face with him not making the slightest attempt to wipe them away... Even now, just thinking and writing about it, I am getting a little tearful.
Inge's parents were about 10 years older than my own. Her father missed his wife very much and I like to think that, whatever we believe, they are reunited now.
This requiem was the first I ever attended, and I was puzzled by a lot of what was going on. Everybody else seemed to know exactly what they were doing - getting up, sitting down, answering the priest either speaking or singing the right words at the right time. I've never been Catholic, and throughout my life have attended less than a handful of Catholic services/masses, so I didn't have a clue and was more an observer than participant.
It was also the first time I've been inside that particular church. It is the very same church I have mentioned here, less than 2 minutes to walk from my house.
The church is a modern building; I've never liked its looks from the outside. For me, the concrete bell tower has the aesthetics of a 1970s parking garage. Inside, it doesn't get much better; although I usually am all for empty walls and large clutter-free spaces, this minimalist approach takes away the warmth I expect in what is supposed to be the house of God.
Don't get me wrong - I do see the point in focusing less on the material and more on the spiritual world when it comes to churches. It is just not my personal taste, that's all.
(All photos taken from the official homepage of this community.)
After the requiem, I was freezing and hungry. Inge and her family went on to the cemetery where the funeral service and laying to rest was taking place. I went home and had a mug of steaming hot vegetable broth to warm up.
I worked some more and then, late afternoon, went to the gym. Only then did I feel really warm again!
Back home, I put in another hour of work, until one of my friends came to pick me up. We'd been invited to her sister's for dinner and enjoyed her great lasagne, red wine to match, delicious ice cream for dessert and a fun board game that I had brought along.
It was nearly 1:00 am until I was home, and switched the lights off just before 2:00.
A long and varied day it had been. Inge and I soon want to meet for a good comforting chat among friends. She and her brother are very close, and I hope they can be of comfort to each other during this difficult time.