Thursday, March 22, 2012

things from the day

Realising, during the eulogy, that you can know someone your whole life and not, by any means, know everything about them. Not at all.
Coupled by the instant stab of pain at how much you didn't ask them when you could have.

Sitting in the front pew (we came in late) knowing my whole extended family was right behind me. Hearing a cough and recognising it as my mother's, a whisper from a cousin, a nose-blow which could have only belonged to a man.
Feeling the presence of all of them behind me.

The young undertaker's assistant dropping his small change all over the carpet in front of the coffin trolley. My uncle's look of resigned disdain.
The knowledge that it wouldn't have bothered my grandfather as much as it did his eldest son.

The pallbearers - my father, flanked by his older and younger brothers. Opposite each of them their eldest son. 4 of the 6 wearing ties from the same prestigious Cape Town boy's school. A momentary pang that I have no sons, no men to stand, proud in their grief, in formation at my funeral.
A momentary respect for patriarchy.

Changing the meaning of the minister's words in my head so that each time he mentioned god I substituted my grandfather.
He is good, merciful, kind. He brings us comfort. We are here to honour Him.

The strange, yet oddly comforting way the minister followed behind the coffin, still preaching, accompanying my grandfather out to the hearse.
The heavy thud of the vehicle's door punctuating the end.

The ribbons on the hymnals fluttering in the breeze ...

Later, in my uncle's study with all my first cousins. 10 present, just one missing. We're here on my grandfather's bidding, complying with instructions he left in his last days. 10 adults - all married, most of us parents, most of us with very little else in common - all briefly reminded of days gone when we tumbled on our grandparent's lawn at Christmas-time, tussled over the coins in the Christmas pudding, performed Beatles songs for a family concerts.
Days when we frolicked through family gatherings filled with happy adults and so much love.

Even later, exhausted, sitting outside with my man, a ridiculously bright and spectacular shooting star shot across the sky.

These are the things I want to remember from that day.

1 comment:

MissBuckle said...

love to you from me.