The last few days in England have been a Celebration of Life for our friend Jonathan. He would have loved the daily gathering of friends and family at his Mum’s house. The family from Italy that spoke little English (but he had known since childhood). The couple he met in Morocco last summer with his Mum and sister, one of the last times he had the strength to travel (Jonathan and Harry bonded over their respective oxygen tanks). Childhood friends from Shackleford, where he grew up. Former flat mates of his sister, who loved him ferociously. Friends he made in America (several of us flew over, not just The Lake Mills, WI contingent). His brother and son; sister and daughters. Many aunts, uncles and cousins.
The weekend was filled with tributes to Jonathan, many funny stories, and toasts with never-ending bottles of Prosecco. His Mum entertained dozens in her flat Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A beautiful memorial service was offered on Saturday at St. James the Less in Pimlico, with the Salvation Army band playing beautiful music and various family members and friends doing readings or tributes, including a well-rehearsed and beautifully-delivered John:1-6 by his ten-year-old nephew, and the poem He is Gone, bravely and clearly read by his eight-year-old niece. I don’t think there was a dry eye at St. James the Less at that point.
Throughout these days of remembrance, Jonathan’s love for life, and really, his love for everyone he ever met, shone through. When you talked to Jonathan, he gave you his full attention. His eyes were on you, not darting around the room looking for the next distraction. You left a ten minute conversation feeling like you were best friends, even if you had truly only met ten minutes ago. His smile would light up a room, his dimples on full display; his eyes brimming with mischief, and you could only imagine the trouble his childhood self must have caused. Boundless energy and enthusiasm for new ideas. He was a magnet in every room he entered. How can he not be here with us anymore??