Thursday, January 21, 2016

One may, in good conscience, rest.

Bob and Sophie are loaded into the car and driven to the airport. Angus is heading back to London for a memorial service. Or, to be more precise, two memorial services. Both former colleagues and each 43 ( or should that be a 'mere' 43 ? ). A task of duty rather than closeness. 'The Font' knowing neither,wisely, opts to stay at home.

One former colleague steps outside a restaurant for a cigarette and is found ten minutes later, sitting on the pavement, as if asleep. The other leaves two young daughters mid-breakfast and goes to the barn with a shotgun. The second the more shocking. One of those always cheerful types. A reminder that an overly jovial surface is no signifier of the burdens shouldered beneath.

Decorous English affairs. Primarily masculine congregations in uniforms of grey suits, white shirts and black ties. You can always tell the ex-rugby players in the congregation. To the horror of the clergy they sing 'Abide with Me' and 'Jerusalem' without inhibition, as if on the touch line. Today, the words thankfully the 'correct' ones. At the end the handshakes by the church door. The parents seem aged by the unanticipated. Standard words of condolence. '' He was such a kind and talented young man ". The 'such' emphasized.  

Hebrideans have at least that simple ' we go to sleep here and awaken there' attitude  to death that has survived wars and pestilence. Sadly, I fear there is no such  certainty at either of todays gatherings but much worry about mortgages and debt and tax bills.

A walk back through Georgian squares as night falls then several hours spent in the bar at Boodle's with old friends provides a rosier end to a rather dour afternoon. What the house claret lacks in sophistication it makes up for in cheer inducing robustness. 

I can relax. Back at The Rickety Old Farmhouse Bob is on guard. There is no time off for the male PON who has an important job to do. The flock is in his care.


  1. Thank goodness for the stalwart Bob, you know that the flock is safe.
    So shocking for you Angus - a "mere" 43 sums it up.

  2. A sombre post today. We so rarely know what is really going on in our colleagues lives (and heads), even when we might have worked together for years.
    My mother (who is almost tone deaf) suggested 'Abide with me' for my father's funeral. The rest of the family overruled her and, thankfully, opted for 'Lord of all hopefulness', but that may not have been appropriate for the memorial services you describe.
    Cheers, Gail.

  3. Scots and funerals, eh? I'm sorry for your losses, Angus, even if they are tribal rather than personal.

    You got out at a good time.

  4. Such sad news. We have had two suicides in our area here in France in the last month. They were in their 70s(a man) and 80s (a woman). Can't imagine what these people were feeling. Go home to your loving flock and enjoy life.It's all we can do.

  5. Lovely post. Oddly, I too lost two youngish cousins this past weekend. One cousin's husband, aged 67, died suddenly from ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease, while the second cousin's husband, aged 59, died suddenly of a heart attack. God Bless you, the Pons, and your extended family and friends. Please keep writing- your words and observations enlighten and lighten my days... thank you:)

  6. We think of the two families who must feel cast adrift without notice. Your poignant telling makes it seem very real even at such a distance. Bob’s steady gentle look always does my heart good.

  7. I'm sorry about the loss of your colleagues. Both the reminder of how fragile and short life can be and how we cannot ever fully know what inner battles someone is fighting.

  8. So very sad...I'm glad you were able to attend both memorial services...I'm sure you felt as if you knew them better after the memorial get-togethers....43 is way too young....may they both rest in peace.

  9. I hope that they have awoken 'there'.