Monday, January 12, 2009

The funeral of a friend

The rain washed across the bleak hillside driven on by a buffeting gale. Thirty or so sombre folk huddled around an open grave as a wicker coffin was lowered into the ground. One by one they dropped rose petals into his final resting place whilst the wind carried many more, twisting and circling into sky, then disappearing into the gloom beyond.

The day had started appropriately in a room at a pub. For he loved pubs – he had one of his own for many years. There we learned things about our friend’s life we never previously knew. We learned that the name we knew him by wasn’t his actual name at all! He was also younger than he claimed, not much older than me, and some of his occupations were less glamorous than we imagined. But then he was famous for using a little poetic license if it made his endless stories more entertaining. And the stories just kept coming.

His bizarre taste in clothes could best be described as eclectic verging on excentric. Bright colours which clashed, patterned braces and a fancy walking stick which would look ridiculous on anyone else, but on him it worked.

Eleven months ago his beloved wife died. They were a devoted couple, and he never fully recovered from his loss. They had travelled a lot, and he carried on travelling the world on his own until just a few weeks ago. He had another journey planned, but not the one he started today.

He was not a religious man in the conventional manner, but he was spiritual. He believed that he would eventually go to another place and once again be reunited with his wife. He carried her ashes with him when he was buried today.

Later, back at our local pub, we mingled and reflected on the man we all loved. His bar stool stood empty but for a sign saying reserved and his photograph propped up on its seat.

Tomorrow a tree will be planted on his grave. Rest in peace Frank - sorry, Ernest!

Frank, I've got a piece of music at the top of my playlist by one of your favourite singers, Runrig. He's singing in Gaelic so I have no idea what its about - I just hope it's appropriate!




  1. what a lovely tribute to a man that was evidently loved by many.... thank you for sharing this with me...

  2. what great words you wrote about someone obviously dear to you. i'm sorry for your loss.

  3. Losing someone close is sad. but everyone has to go sooner or later... yet they remain alive in our heart...

    Sorry for your loss Keith! & may Frank rest in Peace!

  4. Truly a lovely piece to your friend. I can see he will be sadly missed by you and all the people who have been going to the pub and have gotten to know him. He would be honored to see what you wrote about him. So sorry for your loss.

  5. That's a wonderful tribute. I'm going to hire you to write mine.



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