Thursday, 5 May 2011

Today is the day

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

I wake to find the peonies have come out. The white tulips are standing to attention like soldiers on parade.

The sky is low with cloud. I think that is probably right. I was glad it was sunny for the last few days. Dirty rain would have been too much. But blinding sun for a funeral would be slightly jarring. Also, I have no sunglasses.

I go to the Pret across the road to get my flat white. This is a very sophisticated hotel, but they can't make a cup of coffee to save their lives. Anyway, I like the early morning streets.

People are waiting patiently for their coffee and sandwiches. Some are sitting at tables, reading a paper. It is quiet and calm. I look around. I think: I bet these humans are good. I expect they sometimes have a common thought or mean, they sometimes pinch some staples from the stationary cupboard, they may say things they should not. But mostly they, like me, like all of us, want to love and be loved, do a good day's work, feel as if their life is worth something. Perhaps they would hope to leave a faint mark behind. I want to leave trees.

I think most people are good. I think humans have more in common than they might think. I have this thought quite a lot. I have it very acutely this morning, and I find it consoling.

The lady gives me my coffee. She smiles. She says: have a lovely day, as if she really means it. I hear a faint irony, whistling past my ears.

I walk back. I have a terrible tendency to smile at people in the streets. (This is most unBritish and can actually frighten some Ordinary Decent Britons.) It is rather more pronounced this morning. A smart gent in Savile Row pinstripes raises his eyebrows. But a nice man in a van stops to let me cross the road and he gets a smile and a wave, and waves back. This small act of kindness makes me quickly tearful.

There are messages on the machine; from as far afield as California, from old friends. Thinking of you, they say. I smile as I see them. Messages too from the dear readers, filled with kindness. The cousin calls, and I find myself laughing. She is at her crest and peak at times like this; every single word out of her mouth is the exact right thing to say. It's as if she took a course.

I write this, because for some reason I want to write this. Today is the day of the box and the earth, but I can still type. I can still smile at strangers in the streets. I can still believe people are mostly good.

It's life and death, I suppose, running in tandem, on a grey morning in May.


  1. The flowers will look just beautiful. Thinking of you today.


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  3. I went to the funerals of both my parents far too soon in my life to be able to be as balanced and eloquent about the topic as you are now (not quite 21 when my father died, 25 when I lost my mother - I was a tail-end Charlie baby, six years younger than the next one up). I am impressed by your composure, but I also know it doesn't matter how old one is when a parent dies, if they were a good parent to you and you loved them one is somewhere inside a little orphan in the storm. Nurture that little orphan with the rest of you for a few months. She will need it. Be gentle with yourself.

  4. Your words and your flowers have said it all. I can only send virtual hugs and positive thoughts, wishes for calm times and the knowledge of love.

  5. I love that you went for a flat white. A little coffee gift from the Antipodes to you on this very challenging day. Take great care - your readers cherish your words.

  6. Your flowers are beautiful. Hold fast.

  7. Though I am really late to this post, I am thinking of you today.

  8. It's a hard, hard day, but you will be better, bit by bit. Try to accept all the love and care coming your way and just ride the waves till they calm. You know it's going to be all right.

  9. What a beautiful post. Made me smile. Glad you are smiling too.

  10. Dear Tania, your posts this last week have been so beautiful and brave. My thoughts and good wishes are with you. x

  11. The flowers are BEAUTIFUL!

    The line between laughter and tears is very fine and there is absolutely nothing untoward about slipping back and forth across it. Tears can be as healing as laughter and vice versa.

    XXXX Pat

  12. Your writing is in truest form this week - isn't that always the way? You have to live life to be able to write about life and that means the tragic and the hard as well as the easy. I hope today was...OK...and that you have some comfort in it. I am the sure the flowers were perfect. Peonies always soothe. Lou x

  13. Dear Girl,

    You need to write and you need to smile at people even if they are 'shocked' by this. When my father died I cried like a demented beast at his funeral and many an eyebrow was raised. It is an awful and terrible time for you, the flowers will be perfect, the readings will be wonderful and one day you will actually look back on the day and say 'He would have loved it'.

  14. I love that you were able to do the flowers for your Dad's funeral, that's such a special, lovely thing.

    Feel what you have to feel, as it comes, with no apologies to anyone.

    Thinking of you,

  15. Simple acts of kindness make the world a better place.
    My Friday is still your Thursday - I hope you are thinking over your day with dear people around you x

  16. Beautiful, beautiful flowers. Perfect. Lots of love to you today.

  17. Thinking of you today and would like to thank you for writing to all of us so beautifully, so humanly for the last weeks - you've been teaching me something I didn't know I didn't know and I want to thank you so much - and send you great waves of reflected love.

  18. Dear Tania,

    I lost my Dad when I was 17 and my beloved Mum when I was 20. As an only child I was given a piece of advice that has stayed with me (I'm 41 now have three beautiful daughters, a lovely husband who held my mum all those years ago as she died, am a barrister, author and have a beautiful dog).... It doesn't get any better, the loss that is, but every day you learn to deal with it a little better.I have found this so true and am living proof that life does indeed go on and that people are fundamentally good and noble.

    I am thinking of you with kindness every day and wish that every day you cope a little better.

    Amanda x

  19. Sending you a big hug and a slobbery kiss from Jr as you can't get a dog one. x

  20. I agree with the reader who said your writing is on top form this week. It's true. It's always the way. Thinking of you and the peonies. Be kind to yourself.


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