Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Finding the right words

is difficult. Someone I "know" via social networks lost her father very recently. I feel for her.
He was a little older than my own father, the Senior Cat. He was also, like the Senior Cat, a very special person in her life. Now she needs to write a eulogy for him.
Like me her life revolves around words. She's a literary agent - an outstandingly good one by all accounts. It doesn't make writing the eulogy any easier. 
I have participated in the writing of eulogies for members of the family. My brother wrote our mother's eulogy. It was short. She was a "I don't want you to talk about me" sort of person.We agreed on what should go in it. 
When my sister's MIL died they asked me to help. None of them are the sort of people who write anything. The only one of them who reads books is my BIL and he said, "I don't read that sort of thing". So we talked and, eventually, they found the right words.
I wrote one for my uncle because his son couldn't do it. Coming half way across the world for his father's funeral while not well himself was too much for him. My father didn't want to do it either. So, I found the right words - at least people said they were the right words.
I wrote the eulogy for my closest friend. It was like trying to write the eulogy for a sister. I couldn't read it. I knew I would break down. The celebrant read it. I tried to make people laugh because that is what my friend would have wanted. Trying to make people laugh when you want to weep is so hard -  but, somehow, I found the words.
And I wrote the eulogy for another friend, someone I had never met in person. She lived on the other side of the world. We had first "met" in a professional capacity and then, over the years, we became friends. She had never married, lived alone, worked long hours and I sometimes wondered how many friends she had. She knew she was dying and planned her own funeral service. She asked me to write the eulogy. "I don't want to know what you say. Just make it simple and send it to the funeral director."
I didn't want to do that at all. How could I when I had never actually spoken to her. All we had ever exchanged were words via the internet. I knew I was going to miss her desperately but was I the right person to this? Surely not? I protested and the response came back, "Please Cat, I want you to do this."
So, I did it. I found the words. I sent it off. One of her colleagues wrote to me after the very large funeral and was kind enough to say they were the right words and "so like her". 
I wonder about this. It's hard. It's very hard. You weep. You think you can't do it. seems you can find the right words when you love someone.

No comments: