This photo was taken on Milverton Hill, Leamington Spa between St James’s Church Old Milverton and the Saxon Mill, Warwick.
At about 4.30pm on Friday 7 June I walked with my two teenage children through the churchyard to reach this field.
A late summer afternoon in the English countryside is such a quiet, luminous, poignant time.
And it’s one of the loveliest times to be on Milverton Hill. You breathe in a green woody scent, a fragrance of light and sunshine.
As we walked through the churchyard to reach the field, we found a plaque in the grass:
8th June 1995-23rd April 2009
aged 13 years
sweet, rare, exquisite
Ruby’s mother Sarah was tending the flowers, and Ruby’s father Richard was mowing the grass.
Ruby was in my daughter Abigail’s year at school, and Abigail knew Ruby and her story, as many others in our area do, whose hearts were touched by Ruby’s three year struggle with cancer, and her death in 2009.
Sarah, cheerful and pleasant, said to Abigail, “You’re the age Ruby would have been. Tomorrow is her 18th birthday.”
Ruby’s dog Gracie was with them too. Propped against the flower containers by the plaque is a photo which shows this family pet with Ruby 5 years ago.
As we walked out through the gate onto Milverton Hill, beyond the church, I couldn’t help comparing the shortness of Ruby’s life to the transience of golden fields in the English countryside.
In this lovely field, popular with walkers, the cobweb tracery of Shepherd’s-Purse flowers, too, appear between the golden rapeseed flowers. Each petal is silk to the touch, and you feel the cool breeze as you face towards the church. Turning back again to face down towards the Guy’s Cliffe House ruin and the Saxon Mill, the trees seem sculpted against a radiant horizon of intense clarity, each golden flower backlit.
Golden fields don’t last long. But they do reappear each summer. And so will this little memorial to Ruby touch many hearts through future generations.
5 thoughts on “A Golden Field, a Short Life That Touched Many Hearts, and a Poignant Moment in a Country Churchyard”
Oh Sheila. Thankyou for sharing that from your blog about Ruby; its special & painful & really really poignant. My daughter is 16 and Im in tears. Please Lord, just comfort Ruby`s Mam & Dad always. Chris.
Thank you for your comment. Ruby’s mum and dad have been incredibly brave and dignified about their loss of Ruby, throughout the whole story of Ruby’s diagnosis, illness and death. Ruby herself showed the most astonishing composure and courage, and can be seen speaking in the YouTube video I linked to. The whole story is quite outstanding, and as I say in my post, it will be a source of inspiration and reflection well into the future, for all those who pass through the churchyard & pause by Ruby’s memorial.
yes, it is so sad and poignant to read of people who pass away so young in their life. It only serves as a reminder for all of us to treasure every day and live with a sense of gratitude and do the best we can to lead the healthiest life we can.
Also, most impressed with Abigail’s photos – excellent work!
Thank you for your comment.You are right – it does teach us to value the precious time that we have been given. I’ll pass on your praise to Abigail for her photos!