Friday, 17 July 2015

I Plan My Send-Off

I am perfectly well, but this week I said goodbye to my friend and colleague Harry Prankard in a joyful celebration of his life, and it's got me thinking.  His wife, Sylvia, organised it exactly as he wanted: I heard new-to-me stories about his life and by the end I enjoyed a sense of connection with him through the music he'd chosen, the tributes paid, and the photographs of him carefully put together in films by his daughter.

Making a will is an important gift to those we leave behind.  Whilst this statement sounds like an advertisement for legal services or a charity hoping to benefit from whatever resources we may have, it's an important truth.  I've made a will (and yes my beloved sons, it's all going to you) but it doesn't include any wishes about how I'd like people to say goodbye.  So here goes:

Wishes For My Send-Off

Plan it for whichever day is the one you'd most like to skip work
and in whatever place suits you, at any time after the first bus has arrived.

Can it be casual? Could it be a point of no stress for no one, anyone?
I doubt that, since any setting of place and time results in organisation,

but as close to that as it can be, so that if the bus is late, or the car won't start,
if you have to hurry back for a coat, it's no matter, since it won't matter to me.

I'll be free already, you see, enjoying roses and fresia whatever the season,
chatting to Bach about my younger son's playing of his Chaconne, fascinated to see

what my eldest son has run up for my final wearing on that machine we share,
anticipating raised highbrows at the reading of Mary Oliver's Wild Swans,

feeling the poems written for me, spoken by friends, wondering whether the secret
of my tattoo has made it out of the box, and whether it's the cause of the smiles

on the faces of those I love, love, have loved so fully that I won't mind whoever
comes out of my past, of the closet, of the woodwork or the blue for this one last time.

I won't mind not being there only as thought, as the choices I am making, writing down,
wanting to let you know now, for then, how the world offered itself to my imagination.

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