30 September 2014

Starmaker

"The Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh (1889)
It was a pub friend's funeral today. Mick was only sixty seven and the last time I saw him he was as right as rain. But there was something happening secretly, quietly in his lungs and when this thing announced itself he was whisked into hospital and then soon after that  his vital organs began to surrender. He hung on for a few days but then he died. The doctors could only help with his pain.

He was married for forty five years and leaves a distraught wife, two grown up daughters and four grandchildren. He was a bus driver and for his sins a Sheffield United supporter.

Funerals can be awkward affairs for resolute atheists like me. We are invited to go along with religious verbal rituals such as "The Lord's Prayer" and Psalm 23 and by the way I know for an ironic fact that Mick himself was an atheist too. But I rather liked this nice piece below. We were invited to read it along with the Reverend Jane Sharpe who conducted the service:-

Michael
Into the freedom of wind and sunshine
We let you go
Into the dance of the stars and the planets
We let you go
Into the wind's breath and the hands of the starmaker
We let you go.
We love you,we miss you, we want you to be happy.
Go safely, go dancing, go running home.

I wonder who the "starmaker" is. Perhaps Simon Cowell or Walt Disney though I must admit I thought the stars were a by-product of some mammoth, almost unimaginable conflagration when the universe was swirling in a soup of time and energy and had no form. Farewell Mick.

23 comments:

  1. What I find comforting about the whole nasty business of that thing happening in your friend's lungs is that it didn't take long. It is terrible to see someone you love (or at least like) suffering for weeks and months, maybe even years, in constant pain and with no chance of getting better and leaving that hospital bed again. You'll be able to remember your friend the way he was when you last saw him alive - right as rain.

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    1. Yes. There is that Miss Arian. Not quite as sudden as your Steve but still quick. Mick will never sit in an old people's home staring out of the window while the television blasts endlessly in the corner, waiting for the inevitable end of his programme.

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    2. I was thinking just that too.

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  2. Even tho I too am an atheist, I do believe that the energy of my body and brain will live on somehow after I die. So, those lines are very appropriate. Perhaps the loving energy that was your friend is already dancing on another planet. As for the starmaker, I imagine that it is the energy of lots of living creatures from eons and eons ago. Peace to you, my friend.

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    1. Peace to you too Queen of the Colorado Fall...but all I see ahead is a black emptiness of which I will not be conscious - just like roadkill. When you're gone you're gone - well that's how I see it anyway.

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  3. I hate all the religious stuff as well but that is lovely.

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    1. It was a nice verse and that is why I bothered to write it out. We don't have to depart with religious guff ringing in people's ears.

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  4. You are braver than I am.
    I have seen so many good people die and gone to their funerals. They are at the best hypocritical and at the worst boring.

    Sounds like you had a good preacher here. I think she did a good job with the poem. It is much better than Fields of Gold, Morning has Broken, that crap song from Pearl Harbour. All of which Kleenex must sponsor for funerals.

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    1. Let me know when it's your funeral Adrian and I will come along to sing "All Things Bright and Beautiful".

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  5. I hope you come to my funeral YP
    I WILL COME TO YOURS

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    1. Cheeky joke John! At yours I shall wear an Hawaiian shirt with a"lei" made from scotch eggs on a string and we will sing The Birdy Song in unison and there will be much feasting and laughter in the village hall. It's sad that you will miss all the fun.

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  6. When our son died he had instructed a Humanist celebration of his life. I never asked him if he was an atheist but as one myself it gave me great comfort to see all his friends and family remembering the 'good times' without any inhibitions caused by the conventions of a funeral.

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    1. I didn't know that your son had died Graham. Please accept my very belated condolences. It sounds like he had the right kind of send off.

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    2. We had two sons Neil. The elder one, Andy, died in 2006: on my birthday!

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    3. Graham - I just looked back through your blog and found out more about Andy. I loved the photo of two little boys holding hands before a massive rock stack on some distant beach and I found this too:-

      ‘What’s white and hard?’
      ‘A fridge with a flick knife’

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  7. PS if you come to my celebration I'll come to yours.

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    1. Okay, it's a deal. You'll be attending mine as a seasoned ghost but I will be at yours dressed as Roary the Tiger (Hull City's mascot).

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    2. Not if you go in the next five years. I've just been told that when I've had a cancerous growth removed from my neck I the consultant will see me for the next five years. What happens after that is anyone's guess but I though 5 years was pretty good in the circumstances. What's the joke about 'when you've done that doc, will I be able to play the piano?'? I'm no good with jokes.

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    3. HA! HA! HA! (uproarious laughter). You are such a comedian Graham!

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  8. Funerals and I aren't compatible. I prefer to go it alone with my farewells. It's just how I feel...but I feel uneasy and that it's all a bit hypocritical...as I said, that's just how I feel.

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    1. How you feel is good Lee. It isn't always right to blindly go with the flow.

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  9. So sorry to read of your friend's death YP.

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    1. Thanks Carol. I guess it happens to us all.... one day.

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