Jane Holmes: Red tape and a lack of Christian understandingBy Jane Holmes
July 06, 2012
Jane Holmes is chief executive of Wokingham-based charity Building for the Future which provides support and activities for disabled children.
She set up the charity after her daughter Kitty was born with severe cerebral palsy.
What always surprises me, is how reluctant some people are to consider an individual's circumstances, before employing policy and procedure.
In the case of large corporations, I probably shouldn't be all that surprised when decisions get made that seem to kick us when we are down and people don't get heard.
But surely it's not unreasonable to expect the Christian church to put people's feelings before rules and regulations?
Not so in the case of my friend. My friend's beautiful daughter died two years go, after a long fight.
She was one of those children who lifted the hearts of everyone she came into contact with.
Severely disabled and needing a lot of care, she smiled through pain, hardship and fear. No child was more loved than her and when she died, she was deeply mourned.
Her family will never get over her loss and without doubt, the world is a poorer place without her.
Often, when we lose someone we love, the one thing left that we can do for them is provide them with a fitting grave stone.
One which you know they would have liked and which means something. They are very expensive, though, so it can take time to find the money.
My friend was told by the Wokingham church where her daughter is buried what she could and couldn't have for her stone, so she designed one according to the guidelines and, after scrimping and saving, had it made.
She was delighted that it was finally ready in time for the second anniversary of her daughter's death.
So imagine how awful it was when she was then told by the church that in fact it wasn't right and would have to be changed. Wrong shape, wrong design, wrong wording.
The rules, it seems, had changed, but nobody told my friend. Her distress when she found she couldn't place her daughter's headstone in time for the anniversary of her death after all was heartbreaking.
So much for Christian kindness, so much for understanding and for consideration of a family's agonising grief. We are all completely shocked.