This week's Community Column is written by local minister, Rev Ian Miller.

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I MET someone this week who reminded me of a funeral I conducted, where there was no one there apart from the undertaker, the gravedigger and me.

How sad to be remembered by no-one.

Almost the same day a friend sent me a message and I have tried to capture its essence below.

When we are born, we board the train, we meet our parents and think that they will always be there for us.

As time passes, others join that train – our sisters and brothers, our friends, our children and even our partners.

Sadly, at one point our parents will step down from the train, leaving us to travel on alone. Others will do the same and leave a permanent vacuum. Some will even go unnoticed.

This journey will have all the emotions, laughter, tears, expectations, disappointments, hellos, goodbyes and even farewells.

To be successful on that journey we should try to have a good relationship with all our passengers. The great and unsolved mystery is that we do not know when we ourselves will leave the train – so while we are on the train it is important that we learn to love, forgive and treat others on that journey as we would like to be treated.

Remember, one day we will step down, and our seat will be empty. What memories will we leave for those who continue?

It is my privilege to listen often to some wonderful, human and poignant stories told by grieving families, and perhaps, in my own words, to publicly acknowledge the importance of a life now over.

Of late it has become permissible to tell that life story with humour, recalling the laughter and the tears. No longer is it felt necessary to present everyone a sort of plaster cast saint. Faults and failings can be alluded to, if not expressly stated.

I still feel the deepest sorrow, however, where families are split, or where the person who has passed has left memories that are less than positive. So I ask myself as I ask you: what memories will we leave as we step down from the train?