I have been to a family funeral today - that of my cousin's son, William Shadbolt. William was only 17, but he was born with severe mental and physical disabilities and it is a testament to his parents' and sister's devotion to him that he defied medical opinion again and again and lived such a long life.
It is incredibly sad to consider the loss of such a young life (and I still haven't been able to look at the photos on the order of service for very long yet!), but the service was a wonderful tribute to an amazing young man who clearly touched the lives of many, many people. The church was packed tight with people who had come to pay their respects and full of vibrant colours - no black!
William's parents and sister all said a few words in the service, and I think it gave everyone a glimpse of what life was like with William and, despite their love for him, how hard it has been. And also how fulfilling and inspiring. I have nothing but admiration for them all, and for William himself, for his enjoyment of trees and classical music and that strength that just kept him going until he needed a final rest.