A village stalwart has passed away this week - a charming lady who has had far more than her share of illness over the past few years, and a lady who has been a pillar of the community as long as I have lived here - and many years before that. In old photographs of the village she is always there - arranging the flowers, singing in the choir, helping at village occasions. She will be greatly missed, not only by her family but also but the village and the church community.
Her passing made me think of village characters who pass away and I knew that somewhere in one of Ronald Blythe's books there was a passage on just such a theme and I was pretty sure it was under an article on All Souls' Day.
So this morning I looked it up and read it. He says, 'I am suddenly struck by how swiftly they vanish. Here today and gone tomorrow. Why hasn't the village collapsed as prop after prop is taken away? How is it that church-wise they have all gone without leaving an unfillable space? Something strange here. Is this what mortality is?
Even after all these years since my first husband died (23) these words are so real - that is village living I suppose. Whatever the answer is I know that the whole village will mourn her passing.