Friday … 22nd … Opening the drapes revealed a flat slate grey sky presiding over a damp world, not a flicker of movement in the trees, the perfect setting one would expect to come across in any Stephen King novel.
Number one … let me start by saying Happy Birthday Bindy.
First and foremost this diary was my way of backing-up memories of a trip I offered to participate in to support my friend, feeling it was not a good time for her to make such a long tedious journey alone. That being said, I see no point in noting down or expanding on the sadness experienced by the family and friends that gathered today to farewell Joe, suffice to say that the three Eulogies delivered in turn by Pat, Gemma and Ian, will stay with me for the duration without any need of notes.
The wake held after the service started out as most do, and then all adjourned to a separate venue for a light lunch and chat, assuming this part of our day would take a couple of hours was surely underestimated, family members catching up after long absences, life sometimes just gets in the way of visiting back and forth, long lost friends reunited in a common grief.
After almost four hours it was time to exit the venue, hugs, tears and promises of more frequent visits in the future as many guests took their leave, allowing the family and close friends the chance to return to Norma’s home for a more intimate wake.
There was food and drink aplenty laid out, toasts were offered up for Joe, as the stories relating to his adventures, sporting achievements, the mischief he got up to and the normal day to day little things were told, memories returned of fun times. I wasn’t long before there was more laughter than tears as the day slipped unnoticed into night. It was very clear that he was much loved and respected and there was many sides that made up the man these people were honouring.
After the last guest left, the usual kitchen tidy up took a little longer, but was attended to willingly, as Norma still running on adrenalin, I think, chatting about how well it went, and how surprised and grateful she was that so many came to say goodbye to Joe, and how pleased she was that so many had chosen to make a donation to his favourite charity, instead of taking flowers to his funeral.
She is a strong lady, I admire her strength and her courage, even though it won’t be easy for her, I am in no doubt with the loving family support she has in abundance, given time she will be fine.