Sunday, 26 May 2013

Day 166: 'There are too many things I want to say...'

The day
Day 166 (21May) Tuesday. It is a work day, later. But this morning at 10am, we gather to farewell our friend, musician Chas Bromley. There is still a sense of unreality about the day but the morning sky has the beautiful tinges of colour in it we've seen over the last few days. 

The dawn, again, at 6.12am
The roses have started to bud too, after the major pruning a few weeks ago, and that has surprised me. I'm not exactly a dab hand in the garden but I do like it when things work. Chas and Jenny housesat for me a couple of years ago and they had a hand in adding a few bits and pieces around the place. At 6.12am today, I'm taking all this in. 

My motif for the day has become a desert rose I photographed back in the January storms. It looks skywards, its petals have seems appropriate. 

Cloudscape for Chas
I've lost count of the number of times I've gone over and over my words for Chas. It is not a eulogy as such, because I knew him a comparatively short time compared with his many friends and colleagues who will be present today. I haven't managed it without tearing up yet. Sadly, this is not the first time I've had to read at a friend's funeral and the first time, just over three years ago, was through tragic circumstances. Deep we say. 

I feel an intense honour and privilege and make it through. There must be something in all those years of fronting lectures when behind the scenes life might be in a little turmoil. I think we build a bit of resilience playing on stage too. I remember talking to Chas when colleagues from the Orchestra had passed on and asking how they managed to take the stage and play in such circumstances...we draw on something extra. People were kind and appreciated my words. 'There are too many things I want to say' is the translated title of a book I have in Japanese, it is one of my favourite texts for times like this. (I've placed the text of the reflection over on the psephy blog, by request.) Cancer really is a bugger. 

Whaling, at 6.12pm
We gathered afterwards to celebrate his life but of course, I had to go to work...lectures and classes until 9pm. Naturally, Chas, via his family, had the last typical of me to put work first...even at his wake. I really do need to reassess my life, as he once told me. 

I guess in times like this, we take comfort in symbols or signs as we each see fit. I arrived at work to find a calm and slightly open cloudy sky. It gave some comfort. Not, unfortunately, some of the school kids from a nearby school who hassled me as I walked across the campus. Really kids, get over it and show some respect. (Next time, I'll remember I have a camera in my phone.)

Work. Funny how things just go on. We get on with it. And at 6.12pm, I'm back at the lectern, talking about public policy, asylum seekers and whaling. But it will always be just a little bit different. 

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