Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fields of Gold

Because I know family friends are reading this.

Mum will be buried in a quiet Norfolk churchyard under wide East Anglian skies amongst golden fields of barley, and poppies, and hopping rabbits, and trees full of birds and squirrels. The church is full of carved angels. It is one of the smallest churches in the country, and it is very peaceful.

Mum's funeral will be at 2pm on Friday 31st August, at St. George's Colegate, Norwich, followed by a private family crematorium commitment. Refreshments will be served to all who come to the celebration of Mum's life, at Granary Court, in the Bishop of Norwich's garden, immediately after the funeral. We have stipulated family flowers only, but donations are gratefully received via Allcock family funeral directors for The Vidiyal Trust which works with children in India and is supported by this church and also to the St George's Church, Kitchen refurbishment fund, which was to be Mum's next project.

I suppose if you want to carry a single flower to the service, for Mum, that would be nice. I will be doing that, anyway. But I think Mum would be sorry to see beautiful flower arrangements bought and wasted: she would rather you had flowers in a vase in your home, and thought of her, I think, and enjoyed them all week. Or planted a tree.

I have come back to London, for the weekend. I am numb, shocked, shivering with cold, despite the heat. I cannot believe I will never see her again. I cannot believe that I do not have a Mum any more, that I will never hug her or talk to her again. Less than 4 months ago, she danced and smiled at my wedding ( see photo below of Mum on my wedding day). It is just agonising. I so want to escape from it, but I cannot. But now and again I find peace. This afternoon, I saw a white bird flying, sunlight shining on his feathers. I smelled the lavender in the garden. I felt close to her.

In the hour of Mum's death, I felt her with me, a real physical presence. I felt her kiss and her blessing. In the hospital room I had witnessed her slow, brutal struggle to the summit of the mountain, and then we could not follow her. But she came to me, after all, a last gift.

I hope as she left us, that she was glad and not afraid. That she found the sunlit summit, that she was rowed across the uppermost mountain lake to a different shore. That as she was ferried through strange waters, she told her story to a kindly listener. That she was met on the other side by tail-wagging spaniels, Oscar and Glen, plunging into the water and swimming out to meet her, and Ben, her Norfolk terrier, and Dipper, the gentle Springer, barking joyfully and scampering on the beach, and that she heard Rupert, the elderly Welsh pony whinnying with excitement. That she saw Merry, and Barley, cantering to her, and then her friends and family calling her home. I hope that she may be merrily met in heaven.

I hope, I hope. Because I don't know, and I can't believe. I don't have that sort of faith. I don't know that I have much of a faith at all; I see love, and the spark of the unknowable divine, in people's lives and actions. I do not expect much after death. I think life is random, not fore-ordained. But for Mum, if there is such a thing as heaven, then she will have danced straight in. I envy those who have faith their hopeful certainity. I have never had it, and it is sad not to have that comfort.

I can't know, but I can only wish with all my heart that she walks in fields of gold.

The song I have linked is one Mum loved: Eva Cassidy, Fields of Gold. It will be played at the Crematorium as she is committed to the fire. And it shines with beauty, as she does and did. Blessings.


Blogger 'B' said...

Oh Rachel,
Have not been here for a couple of days, and I am so sorry to hear of your loss...

You are in my thoughts and prayers at this time, and will be thinking of you next Friday...


August 26, 2007 12:20 am  
Blogger Kate said...

I don't have faith like you describe it, but I feel that people find what they are looking for. I believe with all my heart that she is where you have described. (I have never been able to believe this for my own future, but I HAVE to believe this for others).
Love to you and yours Rachel, I wish you many moments of peace in the difficult times to come.
Kate xxx

August 26, 2007 12:37 am  
Blogger pierre l said...

I am also not at all religious, but thank you Rachel for a very moving post. I hope your mother does find peace, and she would indeed be very proud of you.

August 26, 2007 8:13 pm  
Blogger Clare said...

Oh Rachel,

I'm crying. Such beautiful words for a woman who sounds so beautiful. And doesn't she look like you??

That's partly why people have children, you know: To carry on. So that things don't end. She's still here, in you and your siblings, in the memories of all who knew her. She sounds amazing, and she'll always be there for you in her heart, whether or not you can believe that she is also elsewhere.

August 26, 2007 9:36 pm  
Anonymous maya said...

This entry is making me get teary eyed. And that's a beautiful song, from what you've written about your mom, an appropriate and fitting song. You and your family continue to be in my prayers, as is your mum.

- maya

August 28, 2007 8:40 pm  
Blogger The Hinge said...

Faith is the assurance of things unseen, the promise of things yet to come. May you have faith like your Mom one day soon.

September 11, 2007 4:45 pm  

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