1. I am grateful today is over. It has been a long few days and emotional. There was someone at the funeral and surrounding events that was cutting towards me all day long, and I tolerated it for P-'s sake. But, the person crossed the line with disrespect for the dead and utter contempt for Canada and the Canadian servicemen and women who lost their lives in Flanders. My grandfather served, and the bones of servicemen and women littered these fields. One must never forget the price of one's liberty, else risk arrogance, pride and a sense of undeserved entitlement. Wow. I was furious, but I held my temper and I am grateful that I did not get baited into an argument on the evening of P-'s father's funeral. I have no regard for such lack of decorum. Right now is about Paul. I bit my tongue even as P- interjected to be careful to choose wisely her next words. I asked that we move on, but frankly, the person lost my respect and I can't imagine them earning it back....So...my bias is duly noted..... Still, I have observed that people's true colours show at and after funerals. I am grateful I could be there to take care of the family. I am grateful I am above petty politics and bitchiness and I am grateful I maintained my equanimity. Tomorrow, I may have to go off and explore the city or pretend to lie in bed very late so that I can avoid the person. I am here for my friend. Oh I am so grateful that I held my peace.
I hope someone will be there for us when we lose another family member and I am grateful for my step-mother who was a support when my mother died and for my sister's bridesmaids who were a support when her husband died.
2. I am grateful that I got to meet and spend some time with Ts-, a friend of P- who has known him as long as I have. I think we had differences of opinion and so I never thought we would get along in real life. I enjoyed meeting him very much. He was very kind to me and to P- and he had absolutely no agenda. He travelled from the Netherlands to come to the funeral and I commented how good it was that he travelled so far. He is a kind and gentle soul and possesses a keen sense of insight. I like him very much and that was unexpected.
3. I am grateful that I was asked to photograph the funeral for the family. I was mortified, at first. It was P- who asked me and we have always had a much different sense of etiquette and decorum and it did cause problems when we were together. However, culture has something to do with that, but not everything. I told him that I would only take photos if his mother and sister approved and that I would not take photos of the mourners until the after-event reception and then only candid shots from afar, because people need to feel open to mourn. With that agreement, I was glad for the very tough assignment. But, if you have seen my photos, I hope you will agree that I shoot beauty...and even in death, there is beauty. I was deeply moved to be able to support the family in a way that is so personally meaningful to me, as well. I believe that they will have one or two shots that will help them to remember the day as a beautiful memory, in time. It was an incredible privilege.
Joy - it was a joy to be able to raise a glass of wine and whiskey to P-'s Dad after the funeral. I am grateful that I thought to stop at duty free for the toast.
Oneness - again...I didn't understand the words of the service but I did understand the emotion and that is what mattered. Language is no barrier. And, at the reception, when it became one, I had the camera to help keep me connected without words. I think V-would be happy with the many people who came to honour him.
Service - Again - today was one whole act of service.
I will post some photos when I am back at my computer next week. Until then...have you seen the sunset today? Have a look.