Karen's mum's funeral took place in Amersham on Wednesday - a rather beautiful part of the UK and evidently affluent. It went as well as funeral's go. I think we did her proud. The general feeling from most people was that her death was a blessed relief. Her strength of spirit and ferocious will was acknowledged by all. Funerals are always a paradox. An acknowledgement of loss accompanied often by personal gains. I think Karen's gains are a slow reconnection with other members of her family who, for various reasons (all tied up with Karen's mother) have been distant up till now. We came away with about three invitations to come and stay with people in places that ranged from Shrewsbury to Skye. I hope we'll soon be a position to take advantage of those.
Of course, now the admin of the funeral is done and dusted the grief starts properly. It is a slow process, not always "in your face". Often it works quietly at the back of your mind and heart and rears its head at the smallest, often seemingly inconsequential moments. To say I feel protective of Karen and my boys is an understatement.
The real heart of this post though is this: the last few weeks have been difficult and traumatic. Karen, the boys and I have had to gad about quite a bit, trying to sort things out and jump through all the correct legal hoops that death, without ever meaning to, throws up. Society likes its forms to be filled in and good form to be followed. On the surface it's been stressful. But underneath I cannot deny that I have enjoyed being with Karen and my boys. Maybe it's the sense of adversity, the way a shared grief bonds people but I can almost see myself in years to come looking back on the adventure of the last few weeks with a curious sense of joy. Almost a sense of stolen holiday. Does that sound wrong?
We were together. We doing stuff that was out of the ordinary. And even through all the heart heavy sorrow and stress there were most definitely good times and good moments.
Almost as if in the midst of death life was determined to be loudly affirmed.
It is a strange, almost guilty, comfort.