You’re going to a funeral.

So: a formal, ritual event: you are not, for clarities sake, keening by the bedside.

You get to the door and are handed a book, and an order of service. You go inside and sit down on hard wooden benches. The book smells like every other hymn book you have ever held, the building is cool and shaded, the sounds of the world subdued by thick stone walls, people are hushed. All of this is how it has always been, only the circumstances are changed.

You read the order of service, look at the numbers on the hymn board, the preacher finishes speaking and you turn the pages to find the right hymn, find it: but also find, as the music starts, that you cannot speak. So stricken are you that no words will come.

Where does this feeling lie? In the body or in the mind?

Further. If you have conceived your grief to yourself, as being most simply revealed by the knowledge (both in your mind and in your flesh) that you will never hold your mother again – never hear her voice at the end of a phone – never see her wave goodbye: how can you categorise this experience? How can you categorise the consciously conceived pre-figuring of a future sensual and emotional deficit?


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