Friday, May 26, 2006


I moved to another blog for a while but didn't like it; trying to fit in some things from a later date.


I imagine there's a queue...
perhaps a light flashes
when it's your turn...and
it must be worth it -
why else would we wait
with broken and worn bodies?
We do have time to stand and stare.

This man Pete waited and waited.
When he moved he creaked, like
an old grandfather wardrobe,
joints well past their sell-by date.
He'll be glad to march
into the next world, kneel
in that great garden, prune
a multitude of fruit bushes.

The people he leaves behind
will arrive on his new doorstep
one day, and he will down tools, laughing
'I've been waiting for you!' 


The funeral was the other day, Thursday, and it all passed without a hitch. Two days earlier, when we were cutting flowers for the florist, Joy had a little weep for the first time. She asked me when Gent was coming and I had to tell her that he had gone, that he was up there in heaven waiting for her. That was the first time it had really sunk in. So we both had a little cry and I wheeled her out to the garden so the others could share in the moment (the others being, the Australian contingent of the family).

She hasn't done anything like it since. She answered questions as if she knew what was going on, and that Gent was really dead and that this was his funeral, but there was no emotion. The funeral service was wonderful. It was done by the local vicar who had seen to Gent while he was in hospital, so he knew him pretty well; and a while ago, the church had got Gent to do a potted biography; everyone was riveted - what an interesting and worthwhile life he led. This was the first church service that I've ever enjoyed; there were a lot of deep silences, where you could spread out your mind, just meditate and relax into the wonderful atmosphere. He did this at the crematorium and the thanksgiving services. All the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren stood up to say something; there were lots of tears but all of them conquered their emotions to make us all smile and laugh at the funny stories and glimpses into the family life. I don't know how well Joy could hear; she has a huge problem with background noise, and seems very deaf, when she isn't normally.

When we left the church at Ottery St Mary, and stood outside, the bells tolled especially for Gent. The sun was beating down and people were patting shoulders and hugging, comforting each other, relieved that it was all over. Joy sat in her wheelchair, smiling and gracious with anyone who was brave enough to come over and re-introduce themselves. I think there was about 150 people there - he was well-loved, and a pretty important man in the area. He had an OBE and a CBE and the title of Brigadier, and he had done so much in his life for a great many people. He will be sadly missed. Joy is aware that there is something missing in her life, but not quite sure just what it is.

Well, now it's just me and Joy. The last of the family went home today and Joy immediately reverted to her usual bedtime, which is as soon as possible - half past six tonight, but she has had a wild time this past week. Some days I couldn't get her to have an afternoon nap, 'No, I don't want to leave all this,' she would say, 'I'm not leaving the party.' We'd finally persuade her a little while later. She is so stimulated when they are all around, but when it gets too noisy she wants to leave. This time last year she couldn't bear to have people in the room; she'd get up and storm off and I'd have to go after her; she'd be in bed with all her clothes on, even shoes. One of her granddaughters got very upset. Joy kept saying to me, 'Who are all these people, why don't they go?' But now she loves it all!

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