Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Monday, March 10 – Tears and laughter

Although the sun has still shone and bright green buds are emerging on the trees, today has felt much greyer. Today the husband and wife Neil found last week were buried in the village graveyard, following a short service in the church.

The funeral was quite well attended, considering none of their family were present. Revd. James made an announcement in church yesterday, asking for us to support these people in their onward journey, even though they were not known to us. Letters had been dropped off at houses that neighboured the woodland cottage and two people came from nearby, although they said they had never become acquainted with this reclusive couple.

We sang the hymns for two strangers, including ‘When I needed a Neighbour’, which was a poignant choice. And although none of us present had known these people, I think we all reflected on how sad it would be if no one noticed our passing. But by the time the service finished we all felt we had come to know them a little. We knew their names – John and Barbara Ruggles – and we knew, from the vicar’s address, how old they were, when they were married and that they had cared for each other very much. He couldn’t add much information as he hadn’t been able to speak to their friends and family the way he normally would in preparation for a funeral, but he and the parish councillors had obviously gleaned some information from documents they had found in the house.

And as we left the church, Martin made a joke which cheered me up. He said, “So that’s how the dog got its stupid name.” I didn’t understand at first, then he said, “Barbara Ruggles. Buggles.” And we both started laughing and held hands all the way home.

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