I attended the funeral of an old neighbour of my parents’ today whom I remember well from growing up. He used to let me pet his dogs – his temperamental Westie included (perhaps this is where my affinity for the breed began?) – and he would bring back pamphlets on archaeological curiosities for me when he went away, knowing I had an interest in it. I hadn’t seen him much in the last few years, and as he was ninety-four there were not many expected at his funeral. But I went to pay my respects and to acknowledge the memories he had provided me from when I was a child. It was a good service – probably more than he would have wanted – but the pastor read out this poem, and it moved me enough to want to share it here.
Feel no guilt in laughter, he’d know how much you care.
Feel no sorrow in a smile that he is not here to share.
You cannot grieve forever, he would not want you to.
He’d hope that you could carry on, the way you always do.
So, talk about the good times and the way you showed you cared;
The days you spent together, all the happiness that you shared.
Let memories surround you, a word someone may say
Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day,
That brings him back as clearly as though he was still here,
And fills you with the feeling that he is always near.
For if you keep those moments, you will never be apart
And he will live forever locked safely within your heart