March 28th, 2018 at 4:38 pm by james

If anyone had told mum that there would be 400 people here today she would have said, “What rot! Don’t they all have better things to do?”
She would have said it with a jutting chin, no hint of a smile and without making eye contact, which is how we would know she was teasing and was touched.

From her vantage point then, though, she would seem quite right: reciprocity is not a great driver of attendance at funerals; neither, I think is the tea, though it’ll be much appreciated. Life, in the living of it, seems celebration enough of itself and when it has gone the proper focus for those remaining would seem to be the same glitteringly immediate stuff of the living of life.

Yet here we are. Our vantage point today, just for a while, is from the other side of death. We are not here for the tea. We are not here in hope that if we come to hers she might come to ours. We are here because we choose to see beauty and value in this most unlovely of all events. We are here because it turns out that we don’t, actually, have anything better to do than celebrate the joy of Gill’s life and, as the community of those who remain, to share in the sorrow of her passing.

We have lived in a dream these past few weeks. The suddenness, the intensity, the hope, the fear and the pain have been so far removed from our everyday as to seem both unreal and entirely real. A dream …

It’s been a year today and while the everyday has flooded back like a tide, reality is changed since she flits unbidden and unexpected in and out of moments like an almost-seen but familiar face in a dream.

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