The Country Celebrant: Memorials

I have been asked to write a memorial for a wonderful chap, married to his wife for nearly seventy years.  They lived in the same village for all of their married lives, in a house that belonged to her parents.  Sadly, they never had any children and they were the world to each other – country people who shared a love of their garden and of nature.

I walked today, thinking of them both and wondering what I will need to say to bring her comfort; these memories are the ones that she has shared with me put into a little poem, I collected some hips and haws that I am pressing in my flower press and I will frame the poem with them for her.

Ode to a Gentleman

You were the earth to me, 
each walk we took together,
the times we stood and stared
over the fields to a distant spot.
Looking at a deer, head raised –
rooted to the ground
an unbroken look between us
Neither wishing to blink nor stop.
You were the world to me,
gruff and gentle, weather beaten.
Your hands mapped with life;
your face as cherished as a child.
Watching a fox break cover,
tail and nose low to the ground
slinking along a hedge line
in the Autumn morning, wild.
You were my everything,
my compass and my map.
You are my everything,
my coat, my gloves, my hat.

It is an honour to listen to someone talk of the person that they have spent most of their life with; it may sound a little cliched but I truly believe that sharing memories with a relative stranger brings a crumb of comfort.  There is the chance to complete the circle, to say some of things that may have been left unsaid and to close a chapter.

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