Went to a funeral today. Feeling, as a result, sad and introspective. I’m getting more experienced at this whole grieving thing and am calm about the waves of emotion. Bizarrely it reminds me of labour and childbirth, it just has to be ridden and endured. I suppose that’s a life metaphor as well, if a slightly gloomy one. My personal mantra is that everything passes – sometimes it’s all so smooth you barely notice it going by and sometimes it’s so painful I’m moving from one breath to another. It just has to be waited out.
Once I realised I wasn’t journeying towards happiness but had to live more in the moment and be open to the fleeting, sensory and ephemeral moments of happiness, things got better for me.
That was all a bit self-help guru and evangelical new non-smoker (you know the ones..) – that’s bloody introspection for you.
The funeral was in a C of E parish church (quite a “High church” one). Even as an atheist I find church funerals comforting – if the deceased was a believer, otherwise they ring hollow for me. Wakes and rituals are important – whatever they may be. Kathleen, my older lady friend was decidedly private and staunchly faithful. She had no family at all and kept friends at a distinct arms length but was unfailingly kind and sharply insightful. At the beginning of the service the Canon revealed that she had presented him in 2005 with an envelope which had, in her precise handwriting, every detail of how she wanted her funeral service. The prayers, hymns and readings etc but not a single personal detail. He said usually the wake was arranged by the family but everyone was invited to the drinks and food laid out like a party at the back of the church because, “we are her family”. I usually find the responses and prayers tricky but they felt so relevent to Kathleen, and reflected her lifelong faith with its own struggles and satisfactions that I wholeheartedly engaged in them. I usually feel so cynical – though I would hope I am always respectful – of organised religion but where would Kathleen have been without this church community that meant so much to her?
It’s right to be sad for people passing. It honours them and their memory. What weighs on my heart is the uncertainty of whether the person in question knew how much they meant to others. A clear lesson in saying what’s in your heart, at the moment.
School restarts tomorrow and I can’t speak for Zeph but personally I can’t wait! I long for the safety and succor of a bit of routine. The house looks as though a glittery bomb has gone off. I need to address one of my little woman issues and sort some house cleaning out. Are you familiar with flyladies? (I’ve put a link up) I need to shine my sink. It’s all a bit twelve step but is the only way I’ve ever sustained order for more than a couple of days – will have to look out the gingham apron though.
Have just realised I haven’t washed Z’s school shirts since he broke up. I am a slattern and ashamed. Off to set a boil wash.