When the end comes

Donate to Marie Curie Cancer Care

This eulogy was written and read by William Booth at the funeral of his wife, Catherine.


If you had a tree under your window, which, for forty years had been your shadow from the burning sun, whose flowers had been the adornment and beauty of your life, whose fruit had been almost the stay of your very existence.


If you had a servant who, for all this long time, had served you without fee or reward, who had ministered, for very love, to your health and comfort.


If you had a counsellor who, in hours continually occurring of perplexity and amazement, had ever advised you.


If you had a friend who had understood your very nature, the rise and fall of your feelings, the bent of your thoughts, and the purpose of your existence; a friend whose communion had ever been pleasant, the most pleasant of all other friends, to whom you had ever turned with satisfaction.


If you had a mother of our children who had cradled and nursed and trained them for the service of the living God, in which you most delighted; a mother indeed.


If you had had a wife, a sweet love of a wife, who for forty years had never given you real cause of grief; a wife who had stood with you side by side in the battle’s front, who had been a comrade to you, ever willing to interpose herself between you and the enemy and ever the strongest when the battle was fiercest.


My comrades, roll all these qualities into one personality and what would be lost in each I have lost, all in one. Yet my heart is full of gratitude because God lent me for so long a season such a treasure.


I have never turned from her these forty years for any journeyings on my mission of mercy but I have longed to get back, and have counted the weeks, days, and hours, which should take me again to her side. And now she has gone away for the last time. What, then, is left for me to do? My work is plainly to fill up the weeks, the days, the hours, and cheer my poor heart as I go along with the thought that, when I have served my Christ and my generation according to the will of God, which I vow this afternoon I will, to the last drop of my blood then I trust she will bid me welcome to the skies, as He bade her.


William Booth



Tell a friend Tell a friend