Right On The Edges

When we met Evelyn, she was in her late 50s, now with her own flat, but most of the time on the streets of SW5 for that is where she felt most at home. Taken into care at 2, she lived in a C of E children’s home. She always spoke with gratitude about the home – mainly for introducing her to the Bible. She admitted parts of that time were very hard. She spoke very warmly of her father even though she never saw him again. At 14 she ran away to Central London where she was drawn into prostitution and drug abuse. Later, she developed severe mental health issues.

We had many happy times together, out on the pavement or round our kitchen table – laughing, drinking coffee (E always had it with cold water) and eating cake. She could one moment be wittering away incomprehensibly about the world’s problems, the next praying with remarkable insight & sudden lucidity.

She died in early Aug, sitting outside the post office in S Kensington, a regular haunt. After we moved to Isleworth, I looked for her every time I was in the area; and happily the previous Sunday evening she had been there

Her funeral was in the Brompton Cemetery – another favourite haunt of hers. For someone who had lived on life’s edges, and who was passionate about the Royal Family and ‘the Royal Borough’, where else could her burial plot be than right on the very edge of the RBK&C?!

Many in the packed chapel spoke of how she had drawn close and given herself to them when life had been hard. The funeral conductor (totally unexpectedly) said E had often talked to him outside the C&W hospital, reminding him: ‘I’m not ready for you yet’! Now in a new company, and at the last minute, he had been asked to do a funeral – imagine his surprise when he realised whose it was.

Her funeral spoke VOLUMES about the heart of God, seen in the way Jesus scoops up those on the edges of life, to let them know their place is right at the centre of God’s heart. His presence that day was undeniable.

Joanna Gillum