It seems premature to be writing this at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon, knowing that I’m mostly going to be writing about the weekend or things relating to my weekend when really it’s only half done. But the bigger half is done. That’s terrible English. I just mean the part that was most important and has been quietly taking up a significant part of my thoughts for the past two weeks. The heat melted quite a large part of the rest of my brain, which left me with about 5% focus for the rest of the world. Sorry, work; sorry, Coffee Monster.
I travelled out of town for a family funeral – an occasion for the saddest of family reunions, though frankly the fairly practical approach and dark sense of humour with which my relatives (and me) as a whole face things like, oh, death, meant there was very little overt sadness apart from at the actual ceremony. I hesitate to give more details because I’m acutely aware of my family’s privacy. I don’t know who reads this blog; I don’t want to tread on toes; I don’t want to divulge information that people would have preferred wasn’t shared.
The worst thing about a funeral is seeing people you love, who have always seemed so tough and in control, cry. It’s not so much the death (or any other event) that causes this that makes me cry – it’s seeing other people hurting.
The best thing and worst thing is finding out, too late, the different facets of someone’s life that you never realised they had (and maybe wished, belatedly, you could have known about), and seeing how other people viewed them. Everyone’s memories are unique, every event is viewed differently through different eyes. I wonder how much she would have recognised herself in the address (a lot, I think – it was a good address) and whether she would have approved. I think she would have. I also think she would have got a kick out of my nephew not really understanding what was going on and making the fair assumption that we were all in church for a wedding. That’s what happened last time he was there, after all.
The best thing is, well, when it’s a lovely funeral and an appropriate send-off. This was a lovely funeral, such as they can be. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful way to say goodbye.
It was also a goodbye to the area, the end of an era. Without this person living there, there’s no real reason for me to go as much as I did (which still wasn’t that much – and lo, the ‘maybe I should have visited more’ gives a little a kick), certainly no reason to return to the little village. Although it being small and pretty, maybe we’ll drop back for a holiday one day.
So, that evening, feeling a bit introspective, wondering about life and whatnot (as you do if you’re the sort of person who starts to get philosophical about these things, and I do. It’s annoying) – it was my nephew who, sitting at the picnic table and gazing intently at the flame of a citronella candle as the daylight vanished, reminded me to stop over-thinking and focus on the little things: “Are you happy? I’m happy. I like looking at candles.” Yeah. That’s the attitude.