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July 20th, 2020

Poem of the day

How We Survive

— Mark Rickerby

If we are fortunate,
we are given a warning.

If not,
there is only the sudden horror,
the wrench of being torn apart;
of being reminded
that nothing is permanent,
not even the ones we love,
the ones our lives revolve around.

Life is a fragile affair.
We are all dancing
on the edge of a precipice,
a dizzying cliff so high
we can't see the bottom.

One by one,
we lose those we love most
into the dark ravine.

So we must cherish them
without reservation.
Now.
Today.
This minute.
We will lose them
or they will lose us
someday.
This is certain.

There is no time for bickering.
And their loss
will leave a great pit in our hearts;
a pit we struggle to avoid
during the day
and fall into at night.

Some,
unable to accept this loss,
unable to determine
the worth of life without them,
jump into that black pit
spiritually or physically,
hoping to find them there.

And some survive
the shock,
the denial,
the horror,
the bargaining,
the barren, empty aching,
the unanswered prayers,
the sleepless nights
when their breath is crushed
under the weight of silence
and all that it means.

Somehow, some survive all that and,
like a flower opening after a storm,
they slowly begin to remember
the one they lost
in a different way...

The laughter,
the irrepressible spirit,
the generous heart,
the way their smile made them feel,
the encouragement they gave
even as their own dreams were dying.

And in time, they fill the pit
with other memories
the only memories that really matter.

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Just this.

Owley, nr South Brent, Devon
Owley, nr South Brent, Devon
“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”
Simone Weil

Good morning.

It's quiet — very quiet.

And right now, I'm alone in my office.

Today is Brian's funeral. 

He will be buried in Totnes next to his first wife, Anneta. Before the burial, there will be a church service at Ditpford for the family — subject, of course, to the usual Covid19 restrictions.

I've been to hundreds of funerals. Do you remember? I used to work for Brian and Tim (his son) in the family funeral business, so that part of it, the formality, I'm quite used to. 

But — of course — burying your father-in-law, one I was very close to, will be very different. 

I know everyone will have their own memories of Brian and my wife's family have gone out of their way to remember him with lots of photographs and, I suspect, a few artefacts, but I'm going to say a silent prayer for him and remember him for all he meant to me over the years. 

And, I know, he'll continue to influence me in many different ways — most of all his love for his children and all that he did for them.

God bless you, Brian ❤️.


If I'm honest, I wasn't sure if I was going to say anything today. 

But I'm here, thankfully. 

It's become and is my daily ritual — a journal of sorts. 

Yes, that's it. A journal. Something to look over (or others) when I'm older to see what was happening at that instant, even if it looks and often is quite repetitive.

As to the rubric, it's not meant to lay claim to any new ground. 

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