It's with great sadness that I write to let you know that Louise Holt passed away at 4am this morning (Friday 3rd June). Just before Christmas Louise was diagnosed with a malignant tumour on her thigh, and although it looked as though the initial operation to remove it was successful, just over a month ago the doctors discovered that it had spread to her brain. Despite the best efforts of the medical profession, and much prayer from many of us, she died this morning.
Louise, her husband Andrew, and her two children Hudson and Grace (who are pictured above with Louise) have all over the years been a huge part of our Kerith community and are deeply loved by many of us. Andrew retired recently from his job in London (before that job he was our church administrator for a number of years) and was in the process of moving down to Cornwall where Louise was based. Last year Grace moved down to Cornwall to look after Louise, and now has a job in a school down there. Hudson is still with us in Kerith, recently got engaged, is working in the construction industry and is part of our worship team. They're a remarkable family who have been a blessing to many of us - please be praying for them to know God's comfort and strength at this time, and if you know them well enough to have their contact details please write or text to let them know that you're thinking of them.
I spoke to Andrew this morning and we talked about the difference that having faith in the resurrection power of Jesus makes in these circumstances. That although there is a huge sense of loss for all the family, they know that Louise has gone to a better place, and that one day they will be see her again. Praise God that there is coming a day when there will be no more cancer, no more sickness, no more tears and no more pain. Let's never get so caught up in this present age that we lose our longing and hunger for the age to come.
Finally to say it's amazing how God is at work, even in the midst of all the sadness. Three weeks ago Louise became very ill and the family were told that she may only have a couple of hours to live. Andrew spoke this morning about how precious the last three weeks have been, that as a family they were able to express things to one another which they might have thought but never got around to actually saying. I'm often struck when I take funerals by the words of affirmation and appreciation which get spoken about the person who has died, and wonder whether they ever heard those things said whilst they were alive. Most of the time I doubt that they ever did. Maybe that can be a challenge to all of us today, to appreciate the people around us in a fresh way, and to say the things that so often go unsaid.
I'll finish with this picture which Andrew took of Louise on the their last visit to the seafront in Penzance on Wednesday. We'll miss you Louise.