Yesterday I had the priviledge to attend the Celebration of Life and Burial service for Malachi Kwabena Thornhill Bonsu. Malachi died on the 5th June 2012 having spent the last six months of his short life at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital - he died from leukaemia age eight years old. It was an honour to attend not just to 'Give Thanks' for Malachi's life but also to support his mum and dad (Yvonne and Kennedy) and his younger brother (Isaiah). It was wonderful to see so many people attending the service and that must have been so encouraging for the family.
I sat behind the Headteacher and staff for Eastbury Primary school, where Malachi was once a pupil, and his class teacher gave a very touching tribute. The school has been closed for the day in memory of Malachi - how very moving and thoughtful.
My heart also went out to Pastor Carlton Smith, who was leading the service and who is also the Pastor to the family, because last year we were all in the same place supporting him at the Celebration of Life and Burial service for his wonderful wife, Janet Smith. Pastor Carlton said that Yvonne had said to him she was not worried about Malachi because Janet would be looking after him :))
As I looked at Pastor Carlton - my mind went back to the day of his wife's burial and I remember Yvonne and I sitting in the garden of Eastbury Manor (where the buffet was held after the burial service) and Yvonne phoned the 'After school club' at Barking New Testatment Assembly Church to let them know that Kennedy would be coming to pick the children up and I can remember her surprise as Pastor Carlton answered the phone and said it was OK he would inform the staff. Pastor Carlton had gone straight from the burial of his wife to his church to make sure all the children and staff were OK at the After-school club before coming to Eastbury Manor for the buffet. What a wonderful man of God :)) even at a time of his deepest sorrow he was putting the needs of others first.
(a prayer station in one of the classrooms at George Carey School)
When the Geroge Carey School first opened (last September) I used to get in quite early to make sure the teachers and staff were OK and in order to get to the school I have to drive down Marine Drive - now I would see Yvonne, Kennedy, Malachi and Isaiah all standing at the bus-stop and they would wave as I tooted and drove past going the other way. My car is bright orange so you can't miss it and you can see it coming from a long way off - my lasting memory is one morning, in December, seeing them all standing to attention and saluting as I drove past :))) When I got back from holiday in January - they were no longer at the bus-stop as Malachi, by then, was in hospital. I do so miss seeing them as it was such a lovely start to the day...
(our house backs onto the playground/playing field of a school)
When I got home - after a cuppa - I went up to my office and opened the window and all I could hear were the voices of the children from Manor in Longbridge School as they had a sports afternoon.
A gentle reminder that life goes on.....