Yesterday, was a very special day: perfect in pretty much every way except that Mark wasn't there to enjoy it with us, though he would have done worse than hide at the barbeque if he had been present and heard all the things people thought of him. All the contributions to the Memorial Service gave a lovely picture of the person I knew, really representing who he was - though the only hint of his deadline-missing habits was the reference to advice he'd given a younger colleague to give up trying to do everything. It is the first time I can recall where I undercatered an event - I'd guessed we'd need 100 orders of service based on the short notice, the fact that so many friends and relatives are not local, and the conflict with the American Chemical Society Conference and that is what Syma produced. Overnight I got cold feet and printed a further 70 just of the insides without the nice cover - just in case. The 233 people (plus the children Mark would have been delighted to hear playing off to the side) who joined Elisabeth, Rowena and me from all over the world still had to share. I have tried to attach the content of the order of service; when I get a proper pdf of it all I'll put that somewhere and I'll put the words in another forum post when I finish this. There should also be a video I'll find someone cleverer than I to share with you.
The afternoon tea was amazing. The weather changed from the forecased rain to beautiful sunshine. Our training of our church community in hospitality came to its climax. I walked out of the house having put out cups, plates, tea bags, tea pots, coffee, coffee pots and empty serving plates. I arrived home to find tables full of food, additional tea pots (we got 13 tea pots as wedding presents because Mark used to drink a lot of tea, but are down to 3 now and clearly someone realised we'd not have capacity). Half way through the afternoon Jill from across the road went home to get more tea. Some very happy hours later, I turned around to find the house clean and tidy with the only remnant being piles of clean china. Thank you so much everyone! Yesterday evening I recalled that Mark and I had got engaged on Aril Fools' Day in 1981 and it just seemed a fitting cycle. For those of you who also remember that long ago, we didn't announce our engagement until the end of June as we couldn't stand the fuss of being engaged too long - but we had to balance what we thought we could cope with with what we thought other people might need.
Now it is a new phase of life, but with God's grace we move on to live the life we'd all planned having Mark's guidance to our planning. I need to avoid the temptation to rush into deciding and doing - Mark drove me up the wall with procrastinating on decisions and actions, but our team planning and acting was always effective. So if you think I am being precipitous on the big or the small please say something! We are going to rely on our family and friends to fill the gap his absence with us leaves.