My father died as my child was being christened | Letter

John Bibby responds to an article by Morwenna Ferrier on the unfortunate timing of a birth and a death in the family

Morwenna Ferrier’s article (‘I knew she was dying, but didn’t expect her to time it so spectacularly’: losing my mother as my baby was born’, 17 December) rang emotive bells for me, as my father died in the middle of my first child’s christening party, which was on our first wedding anniversary. However, unlike Morwenna’s sad tale, I was not traumatised, perhaps because our death was unexpected.

Dad had come to see his latest grandchild, his first for 12 years, but had a stroke while with us and spent his final days in hospital. I feel his death was a good one – we had several days to get used to the idea that he was leaving us, he was not in any pain, and he did not linger long. I was so glad he was conscious and recognised Kevin when I took him into hospital to visit, dressed in his christening gown.

Kevin’s birth had been more traumatic for us as he was eight weeks early, but the coincidence of these events signalled for us the changing of the generations. “Every moment dies a man, / Every moment one is born”, wrote Tennyson in The Vision of Sin.
John Bibby

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