She had a cheeky smile that lit up the room. Full of fun, passion and joy. And today we said goodbye. We wore a splash of red to remember her love for the best football team in the world,
It makes you think. Suddenly we seem to be at the age where friends and colleagues are retiring, thinking of a life that doesn’t revolve round the 9 to 5. And sometimes, and always too soon, we are saying goodbye, Godspeed, farewell.
And now I understand differently the power and comfort of these rituals of funerals and wakes and celebrations of lives lived, lost and loved. The connection that happens between those who gather to be there and why it matters.
Today as the ceremony started, in the midst of tears there was laughter from outside and the sound of chatter as those who had been to the previous ceremony gathered outside. The sound of relief in their laughter, the knowing that together those moments of grief are shared and acknowledged. And it was a good sound.
As a child I remember my Grandpa’s funeral. I was 9 or thereabouts and although I remember little of the occasion itself, the wake afterwards at the house sticks in my mind. It was a traditional tea of sandwiches, cakes and cups of tea. The house was packed with family and friends and I remember the crush and most of all the noise and the laughter. I couldn’t understand then that laughter and tears come together, that love can laugh and share memories as well as cry and mourn. The laughter seemed disrespectful, although I lacked the words to say so. Now I know it to be the way in which we know that life goes on.
Today there was laughter and tears, sadness and joy. Shared memories and new stories to remember and be grateful for. A life well lived is something to celebrate however short or long it may be.
Goodbye, God bless.