Saturday, May 21, 2016
Rafael McBain - may he Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory!
It was a sad but highly uplifting occasion. The service was in the local RC Church and Raf's father assisted the priest as the server, dispensing communion and blessings to people. Their children, Elijah and Jonah, were wonderful and altogether it was a credit to Raf's courage, love, generosity and to the faith of his family.
The burial was at the St Pancras and Islington Cemetry which is enormous - there are about 1M people buried there, including Eugene Goossens and George Price* the brilliant mathematical biologist.
We arrived early (good) but at the wrong end of the cemetry, but this meant that we walked a great deal of its length and were able to look at the graves and drink in the atmosphere which is suprisingly poetic. We nevertheless arrived at the site of the newly dug grave first. Eventually there were about 40 people: the priest read the words of committal, the coffin was lowered into the grave, and the considerable work of re-filling the grave with earth began, conducted by close family members while we sang hymns. Finally a small mechanical digger completed the filling, and the grave was covered with flowers.
We walked back and then had a lift to the celebration in a local pub (the Green Man, which I think was once an ancient coaching inn) and met more members of Raf's family.
A delightful man and a very sad loss. His children are a real credit to him. May he rest in peace and RISE IN GLORY!
* Price formalised kin-selection based altruism, converted to Christianity in 1970 and became increasingly depressed by the implications of his equation. He spent a lot of the last part of his life doing reandom acts of kindness and helping the homeless, but committed suicide on Jan 6th 1975 (Epiphany). It's possible that some of Dawkins' hostility to Christianity comes from this.