Though I am dead, grieve not for me with tears;
Think not of death with sorrowing and fears,
I am so near that every tear you shed
Touches me, although you think me dead.
But when you laugh and sing in glad delight,
My sould is lifted upwards to the height.
Laugh and be glad for all that life is giving,
And I, thought dead, will share your joy in living.
Today we met to say a final goodbye to my Great Aunt. The church was full, the folded chairs were filled behind the pews, there were people standing at the back. The village turned out to say goodbye, the family came by car and ferry and 'plane to pay their last respects.
We, the family, got to hear about the lady the village and town knew as a keen golfer, bridge player, active member of the church. The Margaret who served on church committees, organised the flower shows, was leading a frantically busy life right up until the moment she died, in the middle of making lunch for friends.
They, the village, got to hear about the sister, aunt, great aunt, great great aunt, who had so much time for her nieces and nephews and all in the younger generation. The teacher and lecturer who was an international pioneer in her field. The keen sportswoman who represented her country for a time.
We, the younger generation, heard stories about the big sister who taught her younger sister to drive, and pulled the car out of ditches when necessary. The aunt who excelled at charades and who took her neices and nephews during the long holidays, who was always ready with entertainment and love.
And we were all for a while drawn together to celebrate the life, and mourn the loss, of an extraordinary woman. If I live to be ninety-two, then please let me be as active and as loved as she was. And if I have to die sometime, then please let me too wake up one morning, plan my day, and simply never get to finish it.
It's not a bad way to go.