I can not think of a circumstance in which music is not the answer.
It certainly is right now.
Saying goodbye to a loved one is just never easy. Even if he was 86.
Older brother, restless soul, lie down
Lie for a while with your ear against the earth
It’s not easy. Even if he had told us each separately (and repeatedly) that he was ready, he was ready, he was at peace. He was tired and his body was giving up and he was tired of the pain.
“Oh Grampy! Stop it. Don’t say that,” we would protest.
But he knew what he was doing. Preparing us. Softening the blow, just a bit.
Older father, weary soul, you’ll drive
Back to the home you made on the mountainside
We arrived at the hospital just ten minutes before his last breath. The first five minutes were wasted denying the gravity of the situation. The next five were spent hurriedly whispering into his ear and kissing his forehead.
Our tears fell freely. Some onto his face. It looked like they were his.
He was still squeezing our hands when we spoke.
I never said goodbye. I said thank you. Thank you for being such a blessing in our lives. Thank you for the wisdom, the jokes, the cheek. For making the waitresses laugh. For your hugs. For your love and warmth and generosity. For being a beautiful, pure man. A blessing. I love you I love you I love you.
His breathing became even more laboured,
and then he just left.
Grandfather, weary soul, you’ll fly
Over your life once more before you die
Since our grandma passed away
You’ve waited for forever and a day
Just to die
He lived a full life. He lived in countless countries and travelled to the corners of the globe. He worked in a variety of jobs. Served proudly in the army and the British embassy. He loved fiercely and with all his heart. He was a man of faith. A man who loved singing, driving, gardening. A man who used Facebook. A man who always had a terribly lame joke printed on a piece of paper in his pocket. And a man whose soul shone incandescently.
Dedicated and strong and beautiful.
And you’ll find the peace of the Lord.
Here are some words he wrote to me in a time of hardship a few years ago. Wise words I shall hold onto forever:
“Don’t look back you have a good future ahead and with your lovely little car you will have a lot of lovely places to go and to see, its a great world out there enjoy and savour every bit of it.”