Mind you, I am not in the least ashamed of my advancing age. I am rather proud of it, and I have thought about it with interest for years. I am a convinced agnostic, untrammelled by religious conviction, and the prospect of death, the destination of age, has always fascinated rather than perturbed me. Forty years ago and more, I prepared a gravestone for my beloved Elizabeth and me, on a slab of gray slate that has been waiting ever since among all the jumble under the stairs. Its words provide my first text for this conceptual sermon, and this is what they say, in Welsh and in English:

Here are two friends,
Jan & Elizabeth Morris
At the end of one life

By this I mean that whatever happens in life, friendship can see you through it; and that, well, you never know, there may be more lives to come. I conceive of those simple lines in the slate, patiently waiting there among the bric-a-brac, as a reassurance for their eventual readers, and as a comradely greeting, too!

Jan Morris (behind a paywall, unfortunately). When Jan Morris was James Morris, he married Elizabeth Tuckniss, and they had five children together. Then, after gender reassignment surgery, James became Jan, a change which (legally) required a divorce. But in 2008 Jan and Elizabeth entered into a civil partnership. There is much food for thought here about friendship and marriage as forms of love.