Saturday, March 29, 2014

The pilgrimage, one of us and hurrying away.

1. In the dark hours I am administering a dose to my feverish boy. I glance at the clock, 3.30am, and instead of worrying about my child, I think of Lucy, who will be starting her long pilgrimage to Joe's funeral.

2. I have been pacing around the cemetery while I wait. When I return to the crematorium there is a man sitting on a sunny bench -- a sunny bench just right for watching and observing and recording life and nature. He is scrawling in a generous loose hand on an A4 pad so I know, I just know, that he's one of us. "Are you here for Joe Hyam's funeral?" he says. It's Tristan of The New Emotional Blackmailer's Handbook.
"I've come in my eight ton truck," he says. Later Lucy and I see it pulling out of the gate, hurrying away from all the small talk. We wave like mad -- we can see his mirrors, perhaps he can see us.

3. Joe's coffin looks too small to contain all those words and all that wisdom and all that good cheer. I give it a wave as I leave the chapel, just as I would have seeing him and Heidi across the park. I think he's hurried away, though, gone somewhere more congenial.

4. It is marvellous and rather comforting to see variations of Joe's features in his family's faces and in their manners and in their voices.


  1. Poignant to hear of Joe's passing. I enjoyed his blog. I found this lovely poem by following your trail to Lucy's blog and it seemed fitting - "Loveliest of Trees"

    LOVELIEST of trees, the cherry now
    Is hung with bloom along the bough,
    And stands about the woodland ride
    Wearing white for Eastertide.

    Now, of my threescore years and ten, 5
    Twenty will not come again,
    And take from seventy springs a score,
    It only leaves me fifty more.

    And since to look at things in bloom
    Fifty springs are little room, 10
    About the woodlands I will go
    To see the cherry hung with snow.

  2. Hey, you just beat me to it! But just in time to link to this one, so lovely, perfect words, thank you so much, and to Alison too for visiting. I'll e-mail very soon!

  3. Thank you for 3BT, especially this tribute to Joe Hyam.
    Never had the privilege of meeting Joe in person.
    He and his wonderful comments, anecdotes, observations and delightful photos
    came as a gift through blogging. I believe it was Tristan F. who provided the introduction.
    Deeply saddened by the news and greatful to you and the others of Joe's loving friends
    who have shared his final tributes. Carolyn Croll


Comment Moderation is switched on: don't be alarmed if your comment doesn't appear right away.