Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tsunami


We met Gareth and Ruth 36 years ago, the four of us starting at theological college together. Our Iain, at 10 months, was one day older than their Katherine, and the two sat side by side in their high chairs at coffee-time, holding hands before going back to play in the creche. Over two years of study our friendship grew. Then they went off to Japan and we went to Brazil, involved in our different ways with Christian groups in those countries. We didn't see them again until about five years ago, though we swapped news letters and Christmas greetings.

Meanwhile Ruth had developed breast cancer. It seemed to have been caught in time, but during this last year it re-emerged, and they finally had to return to the UK. Treatment was ongoing, and everyone was hopeful. Then, in the middle of October, various complications unexpectedly set in and on the afternoon of the 19th she suddenly took a turn for the worse and passed away.

Gareth's email likens the experience to a tsunami – a powerful image for one as committed to Japan as he. But, typically and in the context of his faith, he also notes the hope and everything else he and his family have, and asks friends to continue to be mindful of the thousands of Japanese who lost so much in March.

We remember Ruth with great affection, as will those among whom she worked selflessly for years. She was cheerful and fun, warm-hearted and dependable. She gave herself to service a long way from home, and made a home there for many others.

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