Sunday, November 09, 2003

No 13.

After the service when you're walking slowly to the car
And the silver in her hair shines in the cold November air
You hear the tolling bell
And touch the silk in your lapel

Song: The Gunner's Dream
Album: The Final Cut

I had my first experiences of funerals at a very young age. My father's father died shortly before my sixth birthday. Grandad was a very austere man and at that young age I was far more afraid than fond of him so, even if had understood at the time what it all meant, I didn't really mourn his passing. Then, just two years and four days later, a week before I was eight, my other grandfather died.

Both died on a Sunday and both while we were staying with the same family friends in the Midlands but apart from that the contrast couldn't have been greater. Where I feared Grandad, I loved Poppa. I was his first grandchild (there were five before me on Dad's side of the family) and he doted on me. Many of my earliest memories involve him and it would be fair to say that his death devastated me.

Presumably because of my experience two years before, I knew exactly what it would mean, that I would never see this man I loved so much again, and it really hurt. I cried an awful lot. I only have vague memories about the funeral itself, mostly of me hanging onto Nan and trying not to cry, not entirely successfully.

What I will never forget, though is how I felt on that Sunday, almost nineteen years ago. I quietly mark the date every year and try to remember as much as I can.

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