(I wrote this on Thursday 13th November, scribbled on the programme for my mother-in-law’s cousin Jenny’s memorial service, while we waited for the official proceedings to begin) Each funeral, memorial or cremation now evokes for me vivid memories of previous such occasions, as well as recollections of those now dead whose formal commemorative events I … More In Memoriam
Wanting to bring Ouma’s voice to her memorial – to bring her memory alive, somehow, and feel the comfort of her presence – I read out extracts from her letters over the many years during which we corresponded. 27/04/1999 Harfield Village Dearest Laurel, As the winter approaches, I’m becoming a ‘kitchen dweller’ – the sun … More Her Voice
I am fascinated by my ever-changing relationship with death. It is not something that greatly influenced my life prior to my mother’s death nearly ten months ago, but it has been evolving into a more ingrained aspect of my consciousness, and quite simply an increasingly solid concept. I know now, in a way I never … More Thoughts from a funeral
Written on Saturday 15th October 2011: When I was last on an aeroplane, watching England recede into abstract swirls of greenery, I was clutching my mother’s ashes tightly, on my way to Cape Town for her memorials. This morning, as Amsterdam grew into sparkling reality below me, with the early morning sun glistening off seemingly … More Amsterdam Impressions
My mother’s favourite author was Ursula K. Le Guin. After many years of dreaming of it, she finally wrote a letter to ‘her Ursula’, expressing how important her writing had been to her, and she received a brief – but delightful and heartfelt – reply. I stumbled across it when I was back in South Africa for … More Facing the Shadows
Tuesday 21/06/2011 I am sitting in Heathrow airport, as the evening of the longest day of the year draws in, the sky a hazy and sun-splashed blue. Today has not been a good day, and I feel somewhat torn between looking back over it to try and analyse why, and simply looking forwards to the … More Thoughts from an aeroplane #1: London to Cape Town
I was very pleased to hear from Dirk yesterday that they had arrived safely in London (despite nearly missing their plane from Inverness), and from Anna today that they are back home in Cape Town safe and sound.