On Tuesday, we said goodbye to our Dad. Just eight of us, separated into our little family units. I’m so grateful we each have our little family units.
The trees and the cherry blossom in the crematorium grounds were bursting with joy and colour – pink, white, all shades of green. The birdsong from outside could be heard throughout the service, through the open doors. The sky was – as a favourite songwriter of mine (yes, Bruce) says in a song about life continuing after sadness and tragedy – “still the same unbelievable blue”.
I’m not religious, so had to do a bit of research before finding a suitable passage for the vicar to read. When I found Ecclesiastes 3 1:8 – which I’m sure you’ll all know, whether through the Bible or through the Pete Seeger/Byrds song Turn! Turn! Turn! – it seemed completely appropriate. For our dad, for us kids, for all of us seeing the glorious spring and beginings of summer out there through our windows and in our gardens and parks, and being reminded that the earth keeps turning, that our feelings keep changing, that there is a time and a season for everything. And what is a funeral during a pandemic if not ‘a time to refrain from embracing’, eh… ?
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
My heart goes out to everyone who has lost someone during this time, when it’s so hard to gather together to celebrate the lives of those we loved, and to physically be there to comfort each other in our grief.
But we are not alone – in our sadness, or ever. Our friends and family and strangers look out for and care for us. Nature will keep revealing its comforting reminders to us. And the sky will still be the same unbelievable blue.
(Top photo: Bill Wadman)