Appreciation (51) – Sail away…a part memorialTorrey Orton
August 5, 2013
I seem assailed by death these days – five more and less close acquaintances cut down in the last month by that fate which advancing age ensures: Adele, Adrian, Alistair, Barry, and John. Their all being within 3 years of my age probably amplifies the impact. Whichever, matters of the end game are more prominent for me and us these days. After the most recent funeral, Jane wondered if I’d like particular music at my funeral. This was not a matter I’d considered, nor have I since her question.
However, at Adrian’s funeral a couple of resoundingly nice things happened in his honour, which are giving me second thoughts, since funerals are for the living of course. One was the series of slide and music presentations which supported contributions from his wife, children, and eldest grandson. These provided well shaped, recognisable chunks of his life, the multi-media offers making the impact deeper.
A different one had occurred for me at Barry’s three weeks earlier. His was a traditional (is there any such anymore?) Uniting Church service with similar numbers to Adrian’s (not a competition; a sizing) which reminded me how far I am from such connections, while at the same time reminding me of my Protestant Christian background. It was, of course, the hymns which did that, though mainly by not being church music I knew. The impact was provided by an opera quality and volume female voice in the row behind me – the kind of voice which cannot be denied: right on all musical counts, strangely placed in a pew rather than the choir its quality. The service also reminded me of a part of him I knew about but which was almost never visible in our work 40 years ago or over last 5 years on psychology committees, except as a robust ethical perception of the everyday which shaped the world around him.