Sunday, 26 November 2017

Songs without words or music

In the five weeks that have passed since the death of my dad, I've found many things difficult. One of the most unexpected is the inability to enjoy music. I had thought, perhaps, that music might be a great consolation at such a time - a way of having said for me what I cannot express myself.

However, this is not so. Over the last few weeks I have found that all the music I enjoyed two or three months ago now sounds flat and empty. Songs are too wordy, or too familiar or too strange. Their music is too elitist, or too rough and ready, or not complex enough or too down-to-earth. Nothing works; nothing sounds right.

As a result, I now find myself feverishly exploring new works by artists I have heard of in passing or previously ignored in favour of things I was more certain of. Occasionally something surfaces which makes a connection, but it doesn't last for long. The next track on the album is too challenging, perhaps, or too mundane, and the process begins again with a new name in the search box.

In the meantime I look at my collection of CDs and search for one which will sing lullaby to this very peculiar situation. They speak now only of the past, and of someone else's tastes. Whoever that person is, I wish that I could hear him singing.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Empty Space

Just over five weeks ago, my father died. Since then, I feel like I've entered another space in which I exist alongside myself. There is now another me: one which existed before the death of my dad, and now a new one which exists since that event. The two stare at one another, and occasionally manage to speak, but the words are muffled and hard to catch.

I was with dad just two days before he died. We talked that night about death and God. Dad told me that he often prayed, and that he wasn't afraid to die. In fact, he said, he was intrigued to see what comes after death, where the next stage of the journey would lead him. I don't think I've ever felt more humbled.

I made the decision that I would officiate at dad's funeral, hoping that I would be up to it. However, I knew that it was something that I wanted to do for him - my last, small act of service for the one who gave so much of his life in service to me. When the day came, I found the strength to carry out that task. Dad's words about what lay beyond life gave me hope for him, and for myself.

Go forth from this world, I prayed as the service came to its end. I knew then that dad was taking the next step on a journey into the Divine, into the rest that he had earned through the long years of his working life. And I knew that I had made the right decision to act as priest for my father. I offered it - still offer it - as a gift to him, a reflection of the love he taught me.

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