Monday, 16 February 2009

A joyful reunion. A ghastly tragedy.

A joyful reunion

My Brasilian friend Gabriel and I drove to Lakeland, FL (about 70 miles north east of Sarasota) to have lunch with my niece Anne Weston, her husband Stuart and their daughter Olivia. The Westons, from England, are on vacation at Disneyland – which is maybe 40 miles east of Lakeland.

Anne and Stuart had told Olivia that she would be meeting her “crazy Uncle John”. I lived up to that appellation by being silly enough to make Olivia giggle.

I’d officiated in Bristol, England, at Anne and Stuart’s wedding, but had not seen them since my mother’s funeral in 2001. We had a lovely time together today.

jmp, Stuart, Anne, Olivia.


A ghastly tragedy.

Also in 2001, or maybe it was 2002 a wonderful family joined St. James’s in Cambridge. They were the parents Ken and Tess Pope, and their four children - two sets of twins - Ramsey and Connor, the older boy twins, and Molly and Hunter, the younger boy/girl twins.

We became fast friends. I ‘specially bonded with the children as I am also a twin.

On Sunday (15th) young Hunter became very ill with influenza. He was rushed to the hospital, but died on Sunday evening from complications of the influenza which affected his heart. He was 12 years old.

(Can you damn well envision that - a 12 year old who dies as a result of flu?)

My heart has been aching and breaking all day for the Pope family, especially for Molly the surviving younger twin.

His funeral will be on Saturday 21st Feb. I will not be there, but my heart will be with the Pope family, with the good people of St. James’s, and with their fine Rector, Holly Lyman Antolini.

In the providence of God I had already planned to be in Boston a week later on February 28th. I will carve out some time that day to be with the Pope family.

Hunter Pope (1)

Hunter Pope (2)


  1. That is terribly sad. My heart goes out to the Popes.

  2. Only just saw this now, and my heart aches for this family, and all who love them. Prayers ascending that God will hold their grieving hearts in His hands, and help them through this time of tragic sorrow.

  3. MadPriest gave a link here. Prayers for this family---my daughter had a playmate a few years ago who died of the same illness. He was 4 years old. Tragic...


  4. He was my friend at BLA he went home that day right before gym and on sunday the news reached me. everyone was devastated especially molly and our friend ian.