The memorial was fab. Honestly, occasions like this could give death a good name. Except of course it would have been a lot more fun if Caroline were still alive. I bet it was something like this that spawned This is Your Life. Like at great funerals, we cried, we laughed, we even sang. I could get a taste for champagne at elevenses.
Maria’s comment about her mother’s funeral kept coming back to me. In case you don’t remember it, this is what she said:
the funeral brought to us all her friends and all our friends and, thus, we were, and are, surrounded and supported by their love and by the different aspects of her personality they unfold before us
It’s so true. The things other people revealed about their relationships with Caroline made me somehow know her better, appreciate her more, and to wish I had had more conversations with her. I’ve put in a request for some of the photos that scrolled throughout the morning. One of my favourites is of the cat sitting dominantly on her knee. You can see he thinks the photo is all about him. Caroline was smiling, so if you have a Blofeld image in your head, edit it. Here’s a gratuitous picture of MasterB while I am about it.
With Mother’s ninety-fourth birthday next week, I shall probably stay in a pensive mode about death for a while. By coincidence, I am going to an event organised by the Reader Organisation, whose AGM I attended the day after her funeral. If I could, I would broadcast some of her favourite poems full blast around London; have them bouncing over the Thames; ringing out with Big Ben; bubbling up in the fountains at Trafalgar Square; all bearing witness to my mum and words she loved.
Still, hearing others read, and maybe giving Ode to Autumn a bit of welly might do it too. She loved this season, loved the changing leaves on trees that arched across roads in country places, walking in the woods on ground silenced by fallen leaves, woodsmoke in the air, dark evenings and Radio 4. I can see her head back as she’s laughing, see her smile, her chunky rust sweater and blue cords as she worked in the garden; the dog skipping beside her across the grass when she came home from work; memories that are in my head that will die with me. And all down the millennia, people have felt the pain of loss, have had these memories that are lost to us.