This week in January has been a bittersweet one for our family for the last nine years.
It is sweet because we celebrate the birth of our firstborn son, who will be turning 13.
It is bitter because we mourn the passing of my beautiful cousin, killed in a car accident 9 years ago, aged only 20.
I only have brothers and she was an only child. Growing up, she was the closest I had to a sister.
(Please excuse the dress I am wearing here! It was my cousin's and she asked me to wear it! I realise now that it was far too short but I was 17 at the time!)
3 years after this photo was taken, she was one of my two bridesmaids when I was married.
The last time I saw her was when she came to the hospital to visit us after Calum had scalded himself as a baby (I can't get the shortened link to work, but click here if you want to read about that day http://lifeinmyhousefulofboys.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/day-we-will-never-forget.html?m=0)
If you have read the post above, you will know that when Calum had his accident we were returning from my uncle's funeral. That uncle was my cousin's father. As she left the hospital we both agreed that it was time for something good to happen in our family.
I could never have imagined that only 6 months later, on a suitably dark, grey, mournful January day, I would be attending her funeral.
I will never forget looking at my aunt at the funeral. She had just lost her husband and only child in such a short space of time. Who can even begin to imagine what she was going through? And my granny, who shared a house with my aunt, uncle and cousin. She doted on my cousin so much. My dad had to find the strength to lead the funeral and I have never seen the church so full.
At a Lewis funeral, after the service the women all stand in front of the church and the men line up on the road. The men then proceed down the road and the coffin is passed back along the line as they walk. There were so many people at this funeral that it took a long, long time.
Now that I write this and reflect on the day, I can't actually remember what happened after the procession. There must have been food somewhere but I don't remember where! I must have gone back to my parent's house to my boys. James had just turned 4 and Calum was 18 months.
We don't know why these things happen. We may not ever know. What we do know is that our Lord is in control and even in our darkest days we can look to Him as our light.