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

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Sometimes I feel my work can be summed up by “laughter and tears” – from the celebration of a wedding to the sadness of that last farewell.

Let me tell you about Isabella, a little one who spent an all too brief time with us.

These are the words her mother wrote for me before Isabella’s funeral.

“She was born at 7.05am, and despite the efforts of doctors and medical staff she lived for only 44 minutes, passing away peacefully in her fathers arms whilst I was still under general aesthetic.

“After she passed he sat and cuddled her for an hour and a half before I awoke and he had to tell me the devastating news.

“I am so grateful that he was with her, holding her and comforting her throughout her whole little life.

“For most of those 44 minutes she was cuddled by her daddy. I still don’t understand it, and I never will.

“As I was put to sleep my thoughts were ‘I can’t wait to meet our baby’, name options running through my head as I drifted off.

“When I woke the first thing I saw was him cradling a baby in a blanket, and my first thought was ‘why is the baby not in the incubator?’.

“I thought he was just having a snuggle of our little early arrival. And as you know, that wasn’t quite so simply the case.”

I read those words at the little one’s funeral. I read them with difficulty. I was touched by the simple dignity of that young couple.

Isabella’s mum and dad work for the same employer, and there was a big presence of their colleagues at the service.

As I was leaving some of them were making their way to their cars. One young woman was so distraught. Suddenly a colleague caught up with her and put his arms around her shoulders in comfort.

That act of compassion brought tears to my eyes. And for me it was just a little gleam of light in a dark day.

The human spirit facing such an unmitigated sadness never cease to surprise and humble me.