People fall in love with both the church and the gardens here at St Just. I did and visited it every time I was down here on holiday. There is a sanctity about it, an air of holiness and of beauty which draws people back. Many of our visitors come again and again. Elsie was one of these.
She came with her husband every August and then at other times of the year and when he died she wanted to scatter his ashes here. This is such a common request that if we granted this wish we would be buried under heaps of ash so we provide an option of having a memorial garden where loose ashes can be buried and marked if it's wished.
Elsie's husband was the first of her family in the memorial garden. Since then we have included Aunties, uncles, brothers and strangely, mostly male relations. Elsie refers to them all as "the boys"
"I'm just going up to see the boys now" she would announce sounding just like my mum.
She is from Lancashire and of the sort they used to describe as "big boned" she reminds me of my mum and my grandma. She is now the last survivor of her family and she has cancer. The next visit she says will be her last one....can we please meet for the last time? .
Our verger and I am now her family....she sends us Christmas cards and other letters telling us of her progress. Last time she came I was sailing foreign oceans but this time the verger and I will sit with her in our little lady chapel. I will give her communion and we will all pray together. As she can longer get up the hill to talk to her boys we will light candles for them.
The verger and I know that quite soon she will be permanently with her boys and we will then keep the candle burning for Elsie too.
I don't know what it is that draws people to this spot but I think it is the grace, so strong you can almost touch it. Long may it lighten our paths.