I went to a funeral today and it has left me feeling reflective, relieved and happy.
The funeral was for a relatively new friend, we met when we were both unwell. Sadly this young mother stayed unwell while I was one of the lucky ones who got better. We stayed in touch sporadically over the past few years and then I got news of her passing and although the end was not a surprise, of course my heart broke for her family, her children and for what could have been. And so it was with a heavy heart I went to her funeral – a simple Jewish Ceremony – which to a Gentile like me was a beautiful experience to behold. I didn’t understand the traditional elements, but I believe there is something very calming about prayer whatever the language, and in any case it wasn’t necessary for I knew my friend was been given the farewell she meticulously planned and that was enough for me to know.
Back at her home, which she lovingly restored with her husband, I wandered through the rooms looking at the books on the shelves, pictures of her family, her teapot – which I knew well, having poured many a cup of tea from that very pot. I feel like a voyeur, being in her house when she wasn’t there and that made me sad, so much so I had to excuse myself and go to the bathroom. As I sat on the edge of the bath I took some deep breaths and remembered the last time I saw her. It was back in April soon after she knew her final prognosis, she opened her front door to me and I physically winced when I saw her. She looked so altered. I was caught completely off guard. She had the good grace to laugh at me and say ‘you think I look that good now, give me a month I’m going to look even better.’ We spent the next few hours laughing and drinking tea. Remembering this last visit gave me the strength to leave the bathroom and speak with her children and family. By all accounts the last few months had been awful for her, and everyone was relieved she was at peace now. I take much solace in that thought.
As I remember my friend while I drink a cup of hibiscus tea (which she loved and I tolerated), I can’t stop smiling as I go down memory lane. She was such a light. I was lucky to know her even if for a short time. So Emma, wherever you are now, I hope you are laughing and drinking tea because that’s how I will always remember you darling friend.