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Key of Life- for Hamada

What will it say in years to come? What will it tell the folks who pass by and glance, reading the words I’ve chosen. How I wanted to tell a story on this tablet of stone. How I wanted to place so many words. Words that would have filled this oblong of granite. Something much more, about the special man who rests here.

The rules are strict for the Diocese of Lincoln: Monuments should be of natural stone (with no reflecting finish) and a list of recommended stones is given to help with choice. The stone must not be polished, nor finished in any way to give the effect of polished stone. I agree with all this, keeping the beauty of this peaceful resting place is so important and garish shiny headstones would look out of keeping, here amongst the grey.

Inscriptions should be simple, reverent and with an appropriate epitaph but how difficult in a few words, when I wanted to say so much about the wise, kind and caring man who lies here.

I could have added angels to keep you company, or lilies in ornate decorative splendour carved across the stone. I could have added copious words in gilt, flowery sentiments of love. I wanted to say so much. For in my heart I desired the biggest and the most elaborate memorial stone of them all. A pharaohs tomb. For in my world you were the very best of them all.

Instead I knew you would not have liked that. For you were most humble, for you were too elegant for showy symbols. You would have wished to mingle unnoticed amongst the others, although you never went unnoticed.

Just a simple plain stone you said, like most of the others in this quiet lovely place of rest. Just my name you said, I will be proud to rest here you told me.

Keep it simple, keep it simple echoed in my ears but my heart wanted so much more, as I stood before the selection of traditional stones. Let it be elegant for this most elegant of men.

I made my choice, only once biting the inside of my mouth to stem the tears as I realized this would be the last task I would perform for dear Hamada.

So we shall see in early September when we stand together once again to honour this beloved man. I believe I’ve chosen the simple words well. Hamada would be pleased.

It is right and fitting.