I reached that stage of my life some time ago when gaps suddenly appear in my friends list. Not through our social media-age phenomenon of ‘unfriending’ – I take the view that true friends will never unfriend you – the gaps are there because the former occupants have been taken from us in life. The sadness can be overwhelming but the Humanist funeral ceremony I attended for our friend Rich (Richard Edwin Clafton 1965-2015) was a comforting, intimate and genuinely sincere reflection on Rich’s relatively short life.
Ewan MacColl’s words resonate deeply with me and no doubt with many others whose spirituality and way of life has been shaped by the seasons, landscapes and travel:
Take me to some high place of heather, rock and ling
Scatter my dust and ashes, feed me to the wind
So that I will be part of all you see, the air you are
I’ll be part of the curlew’s cry and the soaring hawk
The blue milkwort and the sundew hung with diamonds
I’ll be riding the gentle wind that blows through your
Reminding you how we shared
In the joy of living
You may be gone Rich, but you won’t be forgotten.