Lily pads dip and quiver in the November breeze. Sun hot on the skin, feeling alien after days of grey, cold rain. The crowd gathers on spongy grass and gazes at koi carp, poked playfully by children on knees leaning over their reflections. Love. That is what is thick in the air, that stays present even when the breeze picks up and the crowd moves into the stillness of the chapel.
The warmth of the falling tears comfort those around me, as we surge with emotion, some containing it, some letting it explode from the crevices of deep ache. For what do we cry? For the pain in our hearts? For the sudden memory of a moment we shared? For the floating thought of another long gone soul who catches our mind in a moment of openness? For the thought of the future, for us, for others, without this person present? A glimpse at our own funeral day? I allow the tears to splash, untethered, down my cheeks. Free to feel, to let my heart roam I am filled with life. With warmth for those who come together to share such life that has passed. My heart is held in my awareness. Comforted by my presence. I do not stifle or ignore. I am almost surprised at how simple my experience becomes when I choose to give it room. The pain ebbs through my chest and gently pulsates out into the air. Song sang passionately from the core sends ripples of hairs standing to attention all over my body. My eyes close in absorption. I am carried away.
As we stand and slowly make our way back to the carp and thick white mugs of strong tea, my insides long to make contact. As if by magic, I allow myself to ask. I am soothed by the presence of not one, but three warm embraces. Simple and humble, they reassure and comfort. My heart knows exactly what it needs. Laughter tinkles past half full glasses of wine. Embraces catch contorted hands around damp tissues between chest and bosom and eyes squint, bloodshot at the low rays. I carry forward into the day, back into the step of life, with a fire inside me.