And so when the idea of a Bereavement Service came up, it seemed just the right thing to do, especially in this city of new life. I remember feeling that the group, which attracted a fascinating collection of volunteers, represented a deeper emotional life to the city than the public version. Certainly, those early meetings with bereaved people who wanted to use their experience to help others, were inspiring and seemed to bring an enriching depth of living to the seeming superficiality of newness, of a manufactured place. My first thoughts were therefore about the way in which these people’s experience of loss seemed to have opened up a doorway to a kind of living that had meaning and value outside the trappings of materialism in a city whose centre comprised a shopping mall.
This wonderful group of people, for whom their profound losses of loved ones snatched away at all stages of life – a lost child, a young husband, a lifelong companion – seemed in a way to blossom, drawing warm human qualities from their bereavement. I guess as I look back at this time, I probably sentimentalise this picture of them, projecting some of my own wishes and beliefs on to them. Certainly this positive view of the bereaved drew on my religious faith, if it can be so called.