Birthday diving boards

Happy birthday, Mum. We’ll remember today’s celebration for weeks and months to come – the wonderful meal, the family members gathered in spirit if not in person, the phone calls, the little gifts, the old letters and photographs, the being startled about exceptionally sharp memories of some things, and somewhat foggy ones of others – whilst the important fact of the matter remains our shared enjoyment in reminiscing.

Your birthday, like all birthdays, is special. And birthdays are special because they provide occasion for fond re-membering on the one hand, and also act as a kind of diving board into all the living that’s ahead of us all – saying, with Dag Hammarskjöld, ‘for all that has been, thanks: for all that will be, yes!’ We’re shaped by the passing of each and every year we remember, rooted in family and friendships.

And taking stock of how our years have made us who we are, we take especial note of our having been dearly loved in the course of our journeying. And as we think on being loved we realise that birthdays – and all our days – are still bringing new life to birth – yours and ours. Happy birthday, Mum. Thank you for all that you are. And may your everyday be a happy day.


Then and now and will be


for JMT, 1960-2018, on the eve of her birthday

And on the hillside
where we stood
the something that passed
between us
as though it were a
tidal current was already
as old and as new as the
Ancient of Days – in the
retrospect and in the
there and then and now
and in the prospect of
all eternity

That light, that current –
illumination and anticipation
launched a something that
is the everything
Immortal –
Yes, something to be
like a song among the
stars, laughing and crying
held safe and aloft and
flying –
on that hillside
held and holding

you and I encountered a
Divine Love and knew it to be
an Undying
in us, primarily
in those graced moments
but also in whomsoever –
and all are ultimately
capable of simply
letting go, and smiling and
then the final thankful sighing –
oh, little one, yes, you
great one

Elevated, celebrated: I love you


Happy returns


When we were children we
used to give you the Giles
annual at Christmas:
‘To Dad, with lots of love,
from Simon, Sarah & Nick.’

And we still enjoy those
brilliantly drawn accounts
of loving family
life in which everyone –
cantankerous grandma,

the bobby, the parson,
postman, prime minister,
ma, pa, cold-struck Vera,
and the children, mad dogs,
cats, and neighbours, lived with

cheerful – if chaotic –
confidence that they were
loved and treasured. On your
eighty-fifth birthday I
know my siblings will join

me in telling you that
it has been like that for
us, Dad. You and Mum are
creators; together
you made that greatest gift

of all – our family
lives in that confidence
too. Happy birthday, and
thank you. Eighty-five times
and counting, we love you.


remembering RM, 10 January 1932 – 18 October 2017 &
JMT, his daughter-in-law, 23 February 1960 – 13 January 2018
with deepest love xx