Today I watched a woman weeping

There were no tears

No wracking sobs

Her face bore no visible contortions

Instead she smiled and spoke of minutiae

To we, the ephemera

Made tiny and two dimensional

By the towering cliff she hung from.


She wept

And I watched.

Slightly surreal…

We are back home.

Today we spent around 10 hours in the car- driving first to collect Emily from Tocaster, then driving back up to Scotland. The detour to collect Emily was enforced by the chaos caused to air transport by a few specs of dust…

I took the photo above of a sky clear of vapour trails- a rare event these days…

Yesterday was my father-in-law’s funeral. A rather harrowing day- but also full of rather unreal moments, even humourous ones.

One of Michaela’s many cousins following the funeral car on his BMX, with no apparent realisation that anything out of the ordinary was happening- shouting ‘Aunty Mary- that’s my Aunty Mary…

Conversations about all sorts of things that seem to be totally irrelevant to the matter in hand with people that I ought to recognise, but did not. People trying to fill the void with nervous trivia, which serves only as a wafer thin veil of British decorum. And I am partly grateful, whilst at the same time slightly scandalised.

A visit to the graveside later on to be alone and quiet, to discover that the grave next door is being visited by a family who brought their lunch, in the form of chips and mushy peas. One of them lays down their dinner at the foot of Roberts recently filled grave whilst they fiddle with a recently installed set of plastic flowers on the grave of their grandmother. I overhear them proudly describing how they light up at night.

And now I am home. I have almost forgotten what home is like- the last two weeks seem to have stretched over months.

Exhausted- I need to go to my bed (Ahhhh- BED!) but before I do that, I needed to download.

Yesterday I delivered the eulogy at the funeral. The church was packed with people standing outside too.

Robert was a man who had no firm faith- even though he asked questions. He would never see past the starving children and the earthquakes that bury whole villages. So dealing with the end of life, and comforting those around- this had a flavour that constantly brought me up against an inability to be fully open about my own hopes.

I did find a form of words that attempted to gather these things together. I said something like this-

…Today we may have many different ways of understanding what happens to us when we leave this earth.

For some, we live on only in the memories of those who loved us.

All the more reason for us all to cherish our memories of Robert today.

Many others (including me) have a hope that the story of life is not defeated by death.

A hope that there may yet be more laughter and loving and sharing and memories to make.

Death is close to us all.

May it be for us, the next great adventure.

But may there also be comfort and love and hope for those left behind…

Choose life…

choose life

Today I attended the annual Choose Life conference at Stonefield Castle.

Choose life is an organisation working to reduce the numbers of people who die through suicide in Scotland. In 2004, 803 people died through suicide in Scotland.

My mind was constantly filled with memories of my friend Neil who died in 2007. The tragedy of the end of his life and the grief and pain and loss his passing left behind has been one of the most significant events of my adult life. Sheila- may life continue to grow anew for you and the kids, and may you know that you are loved…

The conference today was creative and engaging- dance, film, poetry and discussion.

And I wrote this- changing a poem I had written already…


Find for me a dark place

For at the moment, I can bear no light

Find for me a silent place

Because your words lie empty

And hollow moments echo

With their passing

Find for me a place to be

So that I may drag out the distant memory

The possibility

Of me

Blessed are those who mourn

aoradh.org – Beatitudes

Blessed are those whose days lie
Black with death.

Blessed are those whose guilt
Rises like a claw to the throat

Who could have done

Who should have done

So much

And blessed are those whose anger is bright wet
Like a sucking wound

Blessed are they in their rage
Blessed are they in their betrayal
Blessed in their

And blessed is the blaming
Blessed is the shaming

Blessed is the crying

These blessed children trying
To bring their loved ones


How blessed
Are they

For it is
To this place

My Kingdom comes.

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