We’ve had a death in the family, we have been low. And, in due course, we attended the crematorium and, because I’m me, with an almost unbreakable (some would say, unbearable) compulsion to be early, we were early, very early. Those attending earlier services ebbed and flowed, grieving, around us and, it being a nice day, a cold but beautifully sunny day, I decided to take myself off for a stroll around the site’s gardens and memorials.
Most of the latter were fairly conventional stuff, sincerely meant no doubt, but with formal words, names, dates and so on – which made me reflect that I certainly don’t want this sort of treatment when I die – and no, I’m not going to say that I wouldn’t be seen dead in a place like this … its just that I want my ashes scattered anonymously out at a favourite spot on the Somerset Levels – the Magic Carpark – where the cattle, tractors, farmers and walkers will trample, grumble and rumble unknowingly over me, gradually grinding me down ever further into a place that I have a vast affinity for. I shall be below sea level and I can’t swim, but then again perhaps that won’t matter by then.
But, anyway >>> anyway!!! >>> away towards the back of the little enclosure that I was in, and approached by a curving gravel path, stood a garden bench, with bunches of bright daffodils and other flowers tied to it. And looking at that bench, I just felt that there was something about it that made me want to get closer to it. I suppose you might say that I could feel it drawing me towards it. In short, I was intrigued, totally curious, such that not getting any closer was unthinkable.
And walking on up to that seat, alone and with no sound but that of the gravel crunching under my feet, I found the plaque pictured below, mounted on its backrest – and, quite simply, it was one of those moments that you know, instantly, are special. Life-enhancing might be overdoing it, but spiritually uplifting certainly isn’t.
For here were two things. One of which of course was the record of a loving relationship, which is in itself uplifting, a cause for warm thoughts and happiness. But what really got to me – and what still very much really gets to me – is that, this relationship having been struck by the death of the man, the woman decided to say exactly what was in her heart, and to have it displayed on this bench for all to see. Having been but moments before wading through a sea of conventional tributes and endearments – phrases that I too have had engraved onto loved ones’ tombstones – I just loved the freshness and loving vibrance of this.
Its all simple, wonderful and straight from the heart, but MY BIG STRONG NORTHERNER really gets inside me and stirs me up – wow! And the kisses too, simply so downright, so fundamentally, human.
Normally I wouldn’t picture words like this from a cemetery, but they do strongly affect me, and having them placed so prominently on this seat, Jac wants others to see them too. Now they will have a wider than anticipated audience.
And I may have almost got to meet Jac – for between the time when our service started, and the time after our service when I took these photos, someone had come and changed the flowers on the bench, replacing those going over with fresh blooms. I should have loved to have had that encounter – and, without the slightest doubt, would have made my feelings about her words clear. It would have been wonderful to meet her.