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  • Writer's picturesteve richardson

It is better to have loved....

Since a boy, I’ve loved visiting churches, kirks and cathedrals. The older - the better. My first excursion as a boy was to a small Saxon-built church in Boarhunt, Hampshire.

It was built sometime before the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and remains, to this day, my favourite.

Notwithstanding, yesterday, I was in the Northumbrian market town of, Alnwick and yes; I was visiting a church.

And as I walked through the cemetery, I noticed most of the inscriptions on the 350-year-old gravestones used the word ‘beloved’.

The 14th century entomology of beloved is, “greatly loved” and/or “dear to the heart.” It’s a powerful word full of heart-centric emotion.

And I got to thinking, I wonder if all those long-departed souls in the graveyard when alive, felt greatly loved? By this, I mean, were they shown they were beloved through kind words, gracious acts, and moments of tenderness and honesty. Did they feel befriended, unjudged and accepted?

And at the time of their burial, did those mourning by the graveside wish they had more frequently shown their respect, admiration, and love when they were alive? To let them know, they were beloved? I hope so.

And it’s the same for us.

Despite our busy lives, I hope that you are letting those you care about know that they are beloved. After all, we are not promised a tomorrow and so it seems to make sense to share our feelings of love in the here and now.

Too often, I have met people who are mourning a friend or family member and who ask rhetorically, “I wonder if they knew how special or loved they were?” This seems a terrible testimonial for someone when alive, most definitely should have known they were beloved.

By a graveside or indeed at any time, I feel that is a question, which should never to be asked.

My strong belief is it is better to say, “They left us, knowing they were totally loved.” In this way, no matter what the pain or sorrow of someone passing, one might be able to faithfully embrace the observation of Tennyson’s poem, ‘In Memorium’:

I hold it true, whate'er befall;

I feel it, when I sorrow most;

'Tis better to have loved and lost

Than never to have loved at all

So, may I ask you not to lose any opportunity to let those close to you know, that they are respected, cherished, and beloved.

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