We went to a funeral this week.
Ngaire and Jim Prendergrast are local institutions. Jim has been in the area all his life and Ngaire all the almost sixty years of her married life as well as some of her childhood. Jim and Ngaire are who you ring when your dog goes missing, or you find some stock out on the road and aren't sure who they might belong to or you need someone with a front end loader to dig a hole in a hurry.
Sadly just before New Year Ngaire slipped away, peacefully in her own home. She was 83 and had been fit and well until the last few years of her life (was climbing mountains well into her 70s!). If you have to die (and it is inevitable) this would be one of the better ways to go I think.
As you can imagine it was a well attended service. Ngaire had touched many lives over the years and was loved and respected throughout the district. Someone said during the service that she loved her family. I knew that already, it was evident when you talked to Ngaire that she loved her children, her grandchildren and great grandchildren, and their partners, completely and unconditionally. The way she and Jim spoke of each other and to each other was indicative of a long and loving partnership which was heartwarming.
As the coffin was carried out at the end of the service I thought for a moment how hard it is for her family to be without her. That the gap she leaves will be huge.
Then I thought how incredibly lucky they had been to have her. How fortunate to have a mother, grandmother, sister or aunt like Ngaire.
Few are so blessed.