Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Day After

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

I wanted to write yesterday, but in the end the Beloved Cousin and I did not get back to her house until after eleven. It was a long, long day, but in the sadness there was also a great deal of loveliness. Along with sorrow and regret, there is also something magnificent in a fine funeral for a fine man.

The sun shone, the choir sang, a mighty crowd gathered to remember. There was a lot of love. I don't mean easy, shallow, Hallmark card love. I mean the profound, fierce kind that comes out in adversity. I want to say: warrior love, although there is nothing martial in it. But still, that is the word that leaps into my mind.

The wake spilled out into the glorious sunshine, and I let the Pigeon out, where she was welcomed with rapture by the godchildren and the relations who know her. She wandered about, making friends, a talent at which she is a past mistress. By the end of the day, young cousins, many of whom I had not seen since they were tiny children, could be heard saying: 'Where is the Pigeon? Pigeon, come here. Is that Pigeon all right?' She was so showered with love from her new friends that I had to drag her back to the car. I know it's just an absurd dog thing, but there was something amazingly touching about it.

The thing on which I find myself focussing like a laser is the  idea that life goes on. (Because it must, it must.) That was the joy in seeing all the next generation gathered together. They are so funny and bright and vivid. I remember many of them from when they were chubby little laughing children; now they are grand coltish teenagers, antic and bright. There were tiny babies, too. A dear old friend of my brother's was there, holding in his arms his new son of one week, a most beautiful, serene fellow with a head of bright black hair. The little chap slept blissfully through the whole thing, as if dreaming of the Universal Why. I looked at him in awe, thinking: that is where our hope lives.

It is very still now. The swallows are swooping round the eaves. We spent the day cooking, playing with the children, looking at the garden. Here is some of the beauty in the garden of my cousin:

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The evening light through the trees:

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The Pigeon, amazingly perked up by having spent a whole day enchanting every single person she met:

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19 May 11

Thanks as always for your most kind and generous comments. I know I am not replying at the moment, but I read and mark them all, with much gratitude.


  1. How perfect. The irises, the peonies and your wise and beautifully judged words. Thank you.

  2. Oh I am glad the Pigeon's spirits have been restored. How lovely to have animals at a wake.

  3. Setting strawberries! Gorgeous. Glad to hear from you and that it was a fine funeral. Dogs (and especially the Pigeon, of course) are indeed a wonderful comfort and distraction at these times - they still need to be fed, walked and matter what else is happening in the world. Similarly with tiny children.

  4. How nice for the Pigeon to be showered with love from her new friends! She clearly misses her sister, in her own doggie way.

    I've been wanting to comment about the need for a book on death (that dratted Blogger interruption interrupted me, too). I love the idea. And you ARE already writing it. This material in your blog is so poignant and direct, coming out of you as you are experiencing all this. You really should include it, as is, as part of the book. Thank you so much for continuing to share with us in this way.


  5. I am glad that Pigeon and you are feeling a wee bit better. Beautiful pictures as usual.

  6. I hesitate (slightly) to second (third, fourth or fifth) the suggestion(s) for a book on death ONLY because I don't want to "feed" the workaholic in you. (Geesh. I AM being so pushy and presumptuous here. I'm sorry!)
    All in good time. And, in the meantime, nature, children and a loving, lovable dog are all great healers.
    Your readers can (and will) wait!
    XX Pat

  7. Oh, my, what you say is so true. If a wake and funeral can be lovely, my dad's was. Sounds as if your cousin's was as well. So many people with so many fond remembrances, all of them there to say how much they truly care and will miss the departed. It's our last, best tribute, and it's good to be able to witness such a thing.

    Sounds as if there might be a glimmer of corner-turning just ahead, too, for you. Maybe not. Maybe too soon. But mending happens each day, whether we feel it or not. Take care, Tania.

  8. Beautiul words Tania. You got me again on the Pigeon and "warrior love", I know exactly what you mean xx

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