Last Orders

Brompton Cemetery
I’ve read a couple of times recently that ‘so and so’ has died. And that they passed away at home, surrounded by friends and family. And it got me thinking that it was all a bit strange. I mean I’m not much of a one for parties, but having one while you’re on your death bed is definitely not to my taste. I mean how can you get away, other than permanently, if you get bored, or want to nip out for a smoke. And think about the fuss. Someone’s bound to cry, and that will set others off. And what are you going to talk about? It’s not as if you care what the weather forecast is for tomorrow.
I suppose one benefit is that you can be as rude as you like to the guests and they can’t complain. And, of course, you’re not likely to fall down if you have too much to drink, since you’re probably lying down already. No, I think I’d like to go while reading a good book, you could always sneak a look at the last page to find out who did it!

On another level we will all have to deal with someone’s death, and the subsequent funeral. There’s a poem attributed to Mary Elizabeth Frye (1904 – 2004) that I think makes a wonderful reading at any service.

Poem attributed to Mary Elizabeth Frye. Not copyrighted.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry:
I am not there. I did not die.