Colins farewell service was everything he would have wanted. It was moving, sad, happy and very memorable. Everything seemed perfect, the weather was lovely, the hymns fitted the mood, the poems were very personal, all his friends and family were there.
It was also very very sad. I was trying to comfort Rhian, Katie had Kira and her Mum and because we were right at the front everyone could see how upset we all were and that set off lots of other people. Rhian would cry, then me, then someone else and so on. I don't think there were many dry eyes in the church.
Colins casket was really nice. It was made from bamboo and was much nicer than the dark, foreboding solid wood ones. There were some nice simple bouquets of flowers on top from Katie and the girls and from her Sister and Mum. Just what he wanted, not too much fuss.
The saddest part of the service were the words in a poem we found, called "God's Garden", it was as if it was written just for Colin:
God looked around his garden
And He found an empty place.
And then He looked down upon the earth,
And saw your tired face.
He put His arms around you,
And lifted you to rest.
God's garden must be beautiful,
He always takes the best.
He knew that you were suffering,
He knew you were in pain,
He knew that you would never
Get well on earth again.
He saw the road was getting rough,
And the hills were hard to climb,
So He closed your weary eyelids,
And whispered"Peace be thine."
It broke our hearts to lose you.
But you didn't go alone,
For part of us went with you,
The day God called you home
I found the end of the service the hardest though. We had to follow Colins casket out of the church and past everyone else while we were all crying, and then we had to wait outside while everyone else came out. I just kept my head down and tried not to make eye contact with anyone.
When the hearse drove off to the crematorium we were all inconsolable and in full view of everyone else. I just needed a private moment to gather Katie and the girls in my arms and hug them but with everyone standing, watching, didn't feel I could. Katie had Rhian so I picked up Kira and we went round the corner, out of sight and we cried on our own.
There are 2 things that stand out as very moving moments today though, one was where Rhian, Kira and Millie, my niece, all let off a single bright red heart shaped balloon each. Most people had left when we did this but those that were left stood silently, transfixed watching the 3 balloons lift slowly into the bright afternoon sky. There was no wind and the balloons went straight up and even though they were separate they all stayed together until we lost sight of them in the high clouds. The balloons were for Colin and it was a beautiful moment.
Then just as we were leaving after what seemed like a very long day we looked up into the sky and saw a giant white cross. It was just 2 aircraft vapour trails crossing but it seemed to finish the day perfectly. To us it was Colin sending a kiss back and saying thanks.
Tomorrow, it will have been 2 weeks since Colin died and it's flown past in a blur. I've not really been able to focus or concentrate on anything else. I've learnt a lot about myself and my emotions. I've cried a lot, both by myself and with Katie and the girls. But most importantly, I've seen a family and close friends really pull together to be there for each other and have been glad I've been able to help and be a part of it.