Yesterday I went to the funeral of the mother of an old friend. I don’t see him much these days, our lives distanced in different directions, but as a teenager I spent some time hanging out at his house and with his family, so I went along to say hello/goodbye.
The last time we saw each other, a few years ago, was the funeral of another of the group who used to hang out. The brother of our lost friend was there as well. The previous grief rolled back in. As I walked home after my mind was flooded.
The sanctuary of this book was waiting for me, glad of the space between it’s pages to drift and soothe and hush the thoughts. There are no rules in here. Nothing appropriate or other. Just release.
Revisiting the crematorium, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been there, from my cousin when I was 15 through generations of friends and relations. With every attendance, every ceremony, each the same and each achingly unique, another layer of mourning.
The logical mind tries to interpret grief intellectually as profound sadness associated with an inexplicable ending, but it isn’t, it’s much more confusing than that.
It’s all of the emotions, all of the feelings in accelerating succession, then as that rhythm starts to normalise, another avalanche. And repeating, and repeating. Inexplicable, inappropriate, quite strange. I remember feeling indestructible after mum died. In conversation yesterday someone was saying how he floated in an unexplained elation for months after a close loss. Troubling and comforting in balanced measure.
I often think of how different our lives have become in just a few generations, since the media driven onslaught of communication. By partaking in modern society our circle of acquaintance is inflated to absurd proportions in unrestricted encounters.
These encounters zip back and forth in time, meaning for the first time in humanity we can spend time in the company of someone – albeit a one-way version of them – at any point in their lives. Years aren’t played out in consecutive order and the resultant discombobulation unsettles us, I believe, more than we understand.
Perhaps this is the shake up we need, rattling us out of the old paradigms.