A child died recently in my local community. A young teenager. It’s hard to write this post, because even though I didn’t know the child, those close to me did.

The last funeral I was at for a young person was 20 years ago when a cousin of my good lady died aged 19. This recent event brought back all those memories.

The over-riding feeling is that of a sense of waste. A waste of a life not lived fully, a life that could have united with someone else to bring forth other lives. And of course a sense of deep loss and empathy for the family who will go through the kind of torture that will only marginally lessen over decades.

As you can imagine, the funeral was a desperately sad and upsetting affair, full of women and children crying, men with their faces set in a grim rictus. In other words, the kind of funeral for any premature death.

I could offer the usual platitude that this kind of thing puts our everyday troubles in stark perspective, which of course it does, but what struck me at this funeral were the words of the sermon at the funeral 20 years ago, delivered by the young priest.

He had one piece of advice, which was, ‘never forget, never forget them.’ Then he added, pointing to his heart and his head, ‘they live here, and here.’

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