Friday, February 02, 2007

A Final Farewell

today (1st feb) our friend Christine was buried. there was a funeral mass first with standing room only. many of her schoolfriends were there. the church had light spilling in from both sides. it was quite possibly the most brightly (day)lit church i've set foot in. many have a gothic gloomy nature but this gave quite a different mood.

her parents requested that people wear some item of green clothing, as that was Christine's favourite colour. obviously there was still mostly black on show, but it was good to see more flashes of colour than you normally see at funerals.

the priest's voice reminded me of John Hannah in 4 weddings and a funeral.

during the mass the organist played i watch the sunrise. i remember at hymn practice as a young boy, a teacher with a glass eye would always request this hymn. he never got bored of it. i was bored of it as a child but i love it now.

the sound of Bruddah Iz (Israel Kamakawiwo' Ole) singing over the rainbow came out over the speakers. the sound of the ukelele was so soft that it sounded as if he was actually there using a microphone. that song is a tearjerker on it's own, but in the emotionally charged church, if there were any dry eyes, they didn't stay dry for long.

a beautiful song for a beautiful person. rest in peace christine.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hopi Prayer

where do we go when we die? into the earth? into the ether or the heavens? are we recycled and are reincarnated again, or is our energy turned into something else?

Stefan made a comment and mentioned this hopi prayer:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glint in the snow,

I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle summer rain.

When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there. I did not die.

it's a lovely thought that we go on to become something else. it's true that we often don't miss something (or someone) until they are gone, but i found out tonight that someone's passing can make us aware of things that would normally go unnoticed.

tonight i went to a memorial service for Christine. it was a memorial service with a difference: it was more of a remembering. Christine's friends wrote memories of her, wrote thoughts they had, things they wished they'd said to her, and photos of her from child to adult. although it was a sad occasion there was a great deal of happiness in the hall.

there was a large moth in the hall also, just a little smaller than the bat that was circling my head some weeks ago. more than one person commented that maybe it was Christine looking down on us all. a few more told of similar things that day. would these things have had the same level of importance attached to them if their world had not been rocked completely? probably not, but it's at times like these that you realise that the small things really matter. small notes, gifts of a leaf, sharing a cup of soup, stick with you. whether or not it was Christine's soul fluttering above us, she has made us look at the world in a different way.

what is my memory? a gift of a bunch of flowers made from textile samples. :)

Sunday, January 28, 2007


today at work was a very strange day and a very sad day. we lost one of our co-workers: a young girl called Christine. she only started a few months ago but was friendly and made an impression. yesterday she went to school as normal, but later suffered a brain haemorrhage, and passed away. she was only seventeen.

within minutes of going in to work i found out about her death but decided to continue; sometimes it is better to have hundreds of customers ask you mind numbing questions so you don't break down there and then. some could not continue while others did not want to go home, and preferred being around their workmates for support. with a few tears in my eyes i served a narky lady who was pissed off about stock inaccuracy, and the hassle of driving 10 miles back again. usually sympathetic, i couldn't care less; from my newly shifted perpective i wanted to scream in her face "it's just a goddamn table light!" but responded with a deadpan answer.

Christine was a lovely girl, with red straight hair, a pale complexion and a sharp sarcastic wit which hid her youthful years. we worked beside her, we danced with her, we ate in the canteen with her and got to know her. some people come and go in work situations and don't leave an impression, but she will be sorely missed. i grilled her on what she wanted out of life, being at the age of leaving school and applying to university, but not really knowing what she wanted to do.

what is so sad is that she was barely an adult and never got to experience more of life, but Christine will never grow any older in our memories, and will remain forever young there at least.