There are no real words to describe how horrific it is to witness a vibrant 32-year old man with a young child losing his fight against cancer, or to watch his mother fighting back the tears, or to see a room filled with young people grappling to make sense of a situation. Life can be so intolerably cruel.
Sally was dignified and brave. I suppose she had no other choice than to be strong for her daughter, but she exuded a sort of majesty which took my breath away. She delivered a beautiful eulogy before playing the song that her husband, Ben, had asked to be played at his daughter's wedding. I think we were all suddenly struck by a single tragic thought; the little toddler in Sally's arms is destined to grow up hitting all those important milestones without a father. It was too much for us all, and as the song played, many wept bitter tears.
The service was non-religious, which meant the focus was on Ben himself. We heard from family members, old pals, work colleagues. He was incredibly well-loved.
For obviously reasons my Requiem has at the front of my mind all day. On the way down to Poole, the train took us, rather slowly, past Brookwood Cemetery, home to the beloved Yasi, whose gravestone inscription, "and we laughed and laughed and laughed" features so prominently and proudly in my composition. As we stood around Ben's grave this afternoon, a poem was read which ended with a line which also features in the requiem; "smile, open our eyes, love and go on."
A wonderful sentiment.