Changes thick and fast


The past week feels like a month. Last night I lay and thought about all that has passed since the death of my friend, and it is amazing.
I sat with a someone on Monday and he talked about the exquisite pain of death. I have never thought of the pain of loss as being exquisite until now. I am not convinced that I feel that it is yet, but I can see that I am getting closer to realising what John Lennon sang about. “imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky” I cannot remember all the words, but I have always been struck by what he sings about; that you need the extremes of emotion to really live. To really be alive. We all spend so much time avoiding discomfort and pain, loss and sorrow. But it is the stuff of life. Without it we are only half here. If it was sweet all the time it would be desperate. Awful. Screamingly dull. To sink to the depths of despair, to miss someone with all your heart, to long for succour is our human state at it’s most open. Yet our modern life asks us to exist in a constant state of numbness. No religious fervour allowed, no public displays of grief or anger. Just a kind of mass produced and managed layer of crowd control exercised by the proliferation of mobile phones; we never need feel alone again (of course it does not work so we have to keep making the phone calls), ipods. The thing that breaks down all the time, that costs a fortune, that invites mugging but is Oh, so pretty we must all have one.
I suppose I digress, but I have longed to avoid my feelings. The raw sensation of unimpeded grief. The tears that flow unbidden at any moment, and then the short bursts of humour that irrepressibly just have to come out. Not humour about her, but just about life. The view of it all that makes it bearable. The ability to laugh at oneself.
As the days have passed, the pain has lessened, and I have been able to levitate above myself and watch with awe and wonder how my children deal with it. They knew her so well. She was there every day, like their grandmother, My husband and his process. Watching how the pain of previous losses spot an escape route and jump into the fray. The people who are used to seeing her here, at home, and their response. We shy so far from the pain.
I have offered the children to say goodbye to her tomorrow. She will be in an open casket for the first part of the ceremony. We both feel it is important that they get aquainted with the reality of her death. She could just have easily have gone away as far as they are concerned and I could have simplified my life by saying that it was so. But I feel that our modern fear of the reality of death pushes us further and further away from the reality of what life is here for. So the children will come and say goodbye with us.