Tuesday, 20 October 2015

A Funeral

This morning I was at the funeral of a friend's husband who died, very suddenly, last Friday.
I don't know how many times I woke up last night, her face in my mind, her loss heavy on me, like too many blankets.

The funeral might have been sooner, possibly, but their beautiful younger son was abroad with his school, and had to be fetched home. A shocking and tragic way for his exchange trip to end and I wonder if either he or his mother will ever want to visit that country again for the associations it must now have.
A whole group of us were there, together, this morning, amongst the packed congregation, to do what little we could to show our love and support for them all.

I felt very conscious of what a tiny thing it is, to be physically there for someone in their loss. How can the presence of another person alleviate your suffering? How lucky I am, not to know first-hand, but I can't help but wonder if, like a wounded animal, you'd rather hide away, curled up in solitary darkness, and howl until the whole infinity of space registers your distress, your fury.
Perhaps that comes later. Perhaps shock, like a local anaesthetic, protects you from yourself for a short while.
But what steel it must take to enter the church yourself, however loving your friends - knowing that the savaged, raw innards of your heart are on public display, on such public display.
It was humbling to see the dignity and courage my friend and her family showed this morning.

And this afternoon it has started to rain.
I think it is what, in literature, is called pathetic fallacy.
We have been cocooned in warmth, sunshine and stillness for the entire month since we returned from Italy. Living in a bubble, almost as if we were still on holiday, living in a borrowed world. A world made robust by sun, sea and mountains, new vistas, old culture.

This morning I also learned that the plane my son was travelling on, returning to Europe from a job in Florida, had to make an emergency landing before reaching its destination. They waited, anxiously no doubt, while technicians flocked to make whatever was wrong safe again.
How strong everything seems, all the elements of our individual worlds; endlessly tensile. But in reality, how fragile it all is. 

The In-Charge is outside splitting logs. I can hear the steady, rhythmic thud and crack as the axe bites into each round.
A satisfyingly physical occupation, the rain at his back.
Perhaps that's what I should be doing.
Instead I'm looking alternately at a screen and out at the grey, wet autumn afternoon, a fire spitting half-heartedly in the stove beside me.
I'm not really seeing any of them.
Mostly I'm seeing my friend's pale face as I hugged her, composed around her grief, her eyes clear and calm, her eyelids still flushed with midnight tears.

1 comment:

  1. beautiful words, Lorely. That family have been v much on my mind since we all heard their dreadfully shocking and sad news. My heart goes out to them. You are doing what you should be doing, btw, sensitizing our hearts to the reality of being human, to the love, loss and the connectedness that sometimes helps us all keep going...together. xC


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