Letter from Ursula Vaughan Williams to Jean Stewart

Letter No.: 
Thursday [28 August 1958]

From R. Vaughan Williams,
10, Hanover Terrace,
Regents Park,
London, N.W.1.

Darling Jeannie,
I have been wanting to write - all is most strangely well, the home full of flowers, like a birthday, & Ralph was here till this morning, lying quietly in his bed as he died, untouched, except by me, beautiful & calm as stone. This morning we went to Golders Green, & William McKie played, & the Precentor of the Abbey read the service incredibly beautifully - we were only a few, Cordelia, Maud, Evelyn Barbirolli & Laurence Turner, Genia & Yania, & Michael Kennedy - & Frank. After the service they all came back here for lunch, which was gay, & loving, & warm.
He is to be buried in the Abbey, & there will be a big & glorious service in mid-September, with the Old Hundredth & all the trumpets of Kneller Hall. Yesterday was hard, but suddenly, in the evening, there was a great peace in the house, and a sense of loving & serenity which stayed with us all. Ralph lay there with the candlelight in the room, still with me, here. This morning I picked flowers from the garden for him which were on the coffin. It is the first cremation to which I have been when I felt that it was only beautiful clothes for which there was no further use being put away.
I cannot explain any of this, but I feel a sense of absolute & lovely completion in myself. Whatever comes, & there will surely be hurts - they'll be like a cut finger or such. But loneliness, no, and grief, no - this deep assuagement is beyond belief.
I want you to enjoy your holiday dearest Jeannie, & come home refreshed.
I have no plans yet, but I don't want to try to make any, as something will surely arrange itself - My only one is to try, from this peace to try & comfort my friends for losing Ralph, but that will be his music.
love to you all


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