I’ve been chided of late for my blogging silence. I know it’s been a while, but frankly, I’m over this rotten horrible year. I’m tired and grumpy and as Mother always said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
There are nice things to talk about, don’t get me wrong, and some of them I love very much – but at this pointy end of 2011, I’m trying very hard just to keep the energy going to experience them, let alone write about them.
That having been said, I’ve written a little something about the funerals I’ve attended this year and it would therefore be rude of me not to touch on today’s. Today’s was number twelve.
If you average it out, I suppose that’s not so bad. One loss a month is perhaps to be expected when you have a diverse circle of friends, family, colleagues, and being a woman in the prime of my life (be quiet my children – I know where Santa lives) death seems so much less the remote possibility it appears when you are a bullet proof teenager. It is beginning to look like something that needs to be contemplated as an almost conceivable risk.
But of course, we haven’t had any kind of average year. The burden of deaths at the start has meant each subsequent loss feels that much more of an insult. Enough already – no more good people should leave the planet. Can’t we have a break?
We sent a good man “Straight Away to Orion” today.
The remarkable Terence (I know him as Terry) Moody. A Council stalwart with 44 years of service tucked under his belt, Terry and I worked together on those miracles of modern policy, local government bylaws.
We did it for years. He knew them inside and out, knew the rules of engagement, what we had to do to make sure we weren’t setting council on a path to ruin. He did it with wit and charm and a good grace that could only have come from loving and living with his redoubtable wife, the amazing Elizabeth.
Terry, your passing was a long time coming and I’m pleased you’re at peace. I’m also pleased that your send off was just right today. Dignified, gentle, not too fluffy, not the least bit soppy, the odd twinkling bit of wit and humour and so many of your friends around you. You knew we loved you, you had the chance to hear that. If there’s an upside to illness, it’s that you have the time to clear the air and make amends (or tell the truth which may have entirely different consequences!)
I shall miss your marvellous mind, Terry, and your ethics, your commitment, your compassion and your cackle. You were a delightful colleague – you made me smile and I could argue with you without worrying I might ever win. I shall miss sidling up to you and challenging you to a running race just so you could shake your walking stick and growl at me. I shall miss catching your eye in the debating chamber and stifling the giggles I would inevitably get.
I am rotten sad that you’ve gone and left us though, even that it comes to us all. As you’ve gone, you’ve lifted the bar as far as planning a funeral goes. Yours is the only service sheet I’ve ever seen which contains a page of self-written reflections (and if mine in time were start as yours did with “I have had a long and happy life” I should be delighted).
Moreover yours is the only page of reflections I believe I am ever likely to see which includes footnotes and references. (I suppose this could be thought of as a submission to that final policy document)
Terry, “The purest treasure mortal times afford is spotless reputation” Yours remains, as always, impeccable (pranks perhaps excepted).
I miss you enormously. Shall watch for falling stars and think of you. And hope and hope that a dozen funerals in a year is more than enough for anyone.
WH Auden, 1947, The Age of Anxiety
William Shakespeare, Richard II, 1.1