As I stand here, with my hand resting on your coffin, breathing in the scent of lilies and of wood-polish, the congregation is watching and waiting. I’m taking these few minutes to prepare myself, before I deliver your eulogy.
There’s no shortage of memories; strolling together in the sunshine; running away from the rain; getting lost and finding our way again; worrying about unpaid bills; celebrating a tiny lottery win; a short stay in an expensive hotel; shopping for tat in a seaside market; children, grandchildren, friends, lost friends.
I try to marshal these jumbled recollections into order, so that I’ll be able to say something coherent. They refuse to comply. Every time that I start to examine an individual memory, it becomes gradually less distinct and then is gone altogether. The more that I try to hold on to it, the sooner it goes. This happens time after time. I begin to panic. What’s happening to me? Why are we disappearing?
When the last of these memories has slipped away from me, what is there left?
You, as a young woman, quietly smiling. Holding out your hand. Mending my life.