We buried you today. I knew it would be hard, but when I saw the hearse walking down the village high street my heart stopped.
There was a part of me waiting to be woken up from a horrible dream, but instead today’s events carried on and I have been forced to confront reality.
Dare I say it, the coffin and flowers were beautiful and were to your taste; a willow coffin with beautiful pastel blooms of white, lilac, blues and pink.
You’ve been gone almost a month. Four weeks since I had to record my goodbye and send it for mum to play to you as the current pandemic meant I was not allowed in to see you. I tell myself that you were able to hear it, however a part of me thinks you’d already left us when you were found that fateful morning.
Did you know that we ended up walking the hearse through the village because so many people wished to attend today to say goodbye that we would have broken the current lockdown rules on gatherings?
I have heard people say a number of times today that you were always good at bringing people together; it’s fitting that today in glorious sunshine you did it again.
My grief is still incredibly raw and years of not reading enough mean that my vocabulary has wilted. I struggled to find the words to write in the condolences book this morning. I’m not sure there are words to describe grief accurately; such a complex, personal experience unique to each relationship.
I have always held you in high regard as a form of role model; your fierce intellect and obstinacy combined with a warmth and friendliness is something I have found nowhere else.
I owe my talent for languages to you; I would not be where I am today had it not been for the hours of French tuition and language exposure you provided me with at such a young age.
The fun we have had, you and I. The number of times you’d get that wicked glint in your eye and a mischievous grin on your face announcing unrepentant naughtiness fill memories that I will forever cherish.
My happy place was always with you in your house and I am blessed to have been able to spend so much time with you.
Amongst my most treasured experiences are the countless summers in your garden, playing badminton, helping in the kitchen or with the weeding; the walks round the village after a lengthy Sunday lunch during which we’d become so engrossed in the conversation we would forget about the food; dropping in to visit you as a surprise, only to find you dozing in the greenhouse on a kitchen chair you’d smuggled out so you could listen to BCC Radio 4 in the sun.
These memories keep you alive. To me, you will always be with me as long as I have these. Just as today a piece of my heart was laid to rest on a sunny hill top in the English countryside.
I love you to the moon and back. Forever and always.